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Bulls’ hard foul on LeBron upgraded to a flagrant

Mar 31, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

Miami Heat's James holds his face after a play as Chicago Bulls' Boozer looks on, during their NBA basketball game in Chicago

After the Bulls snapped the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, LeBron James wasn’t pleased with the physical way that Chicago played him defensively, and lamented the lack of flagrant fouls called on two specific plays.

Those comments apparently made their way to the league office, where at least one play from that game was reviewed, and it was decided to be worthy of a retroactive upgrade to a flagrant one foul.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

The NBA confirmed to the Sun Sentinel on Saturday that one of the hard fouls during Wednesday’s Miami Heat loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center has been upgraded to a flagrant foul.

The play in question, a shooting foul on Chicago power forward Taj Gibson against James, came with 2:37 remaining in the first quarter …

The foul that was upgraded came on a baseline drive from James, and after he went up for a shot on the other side of the rim, Gibson swung his right arm, presumably to attempt to block the shot, but caught James squarely in the head instead.

The two plays James was referring to, however, including this takedown from behind by Gibson which appears to be worse than the one upgraded, remained regular personal fouls.

It’s clear the league wanted to take James’ comments seriously, because it can’t have its best player simply butchered throughout the course of the game, only to have it written off as good, physical defensive play. It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, James’ comments end up having on the way he and the Heat are officiated throughout the postseason.

  1. timcast12 - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    The league just loves lebron. Don’t complain when you get basically every call . ” ahh ref did you see that? He just touched me “

    • miamimarz - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      )what games have u been watching? That game the gameplan was to make it tough in the paint!which is a proven success. A couple of those plays were definitely overboard

    • andrewproughcfe - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Lebron has taught us all an important lesson – “crying pays”.

      He should have quite a bit more to cry about after the Spurs rough him up tonight.

    • leejesusjackson - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      What a jerk I’d bet you can’t even shoot the basketball nonetheless take a hard hit yet the nerve to run your mouth

  2. fotydaze - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I bet the bad boy pistons, and the 90’a knicks and pacers are having a good laugh right now. Flagrant fouls really!!!

    • jt1138 - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      I bet you aren’t even old enough to remember those teams.

      • mydoghasfleez - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        or smart enuf to remember yesterday.

  3. ranoversquarells - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    And Lebron will still bitch about this …

  4. gmsingh - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    As long as David Stern is involved these situations will never get better.

  5. ravensfansc - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Time for a waambulance for Lebron. I don’t even hate Lebron but that is good physical basketball that we all love.

  6. jtchernak - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Bs crybaby Lebron he must have took notes from cry baby wade on crying to the refs

  7. LPad - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Has LeBron been fined yet for questioning the officiating? Right or wrong, everyone gets fined for criticizng the officiating, but I haven’t seen anything saying he was fined.

  8. simonkuntz - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    LeBron is such a whiner… Quit complaining and play the game… There will be contact and a foul was called.. Get over yourself

  9. bigbenh8tr - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    this is why I’d rather watch college women’s basletball than miami heat games

    • money2long - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:47 PM

      skylar diggins is cute

  10. professoressadiesel - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Amazing, he whines about a call and gets his way, well after the fact. Would have looked much better had this came down the next day.

  11. llindy86 - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    This is pathetic.

  12. miamatt - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Well played by LBJ and Pat Riley.

    LeBron gets the benefit of the doubt on many calls, to be sure, but doesn’t get others- particularly blows to the head- because he continues on and makes the layup, rather than crumple to the floor.

    In this regard, LeBron’s officiating is 50% Michael Jordan treatment, 50% Shaq treatment.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. LeBron is so powerful that he doesn’t show contact like a small guy; as a result it isn’t always obvious when he gets fouled. Sometimes he gets nailed and it doesn’t appear he got fouled.

      This season LBJ is shooting 7.1 free throws per game, second lowest of his career. BUT he’s taking 7 shots at the rim per game, second highest of his career. This season he isn’t getting as many calls as he’s used to and certainly not as many as Durant and Harden. He has a right to speak up.

  13. its50 - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    i guess whining and crying really does benefit

    • leejesusjackson - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      You can always tell a bunch of want to be people they have nothing better to do than
      To show that their big toe has more sense then they do. Who wants to be constantly whipped on? In today’s game they were dirty hard football plays but because of the depth of his game and size as was with Shag the ref’s always let it slide. Now if the man wanted to play football he would have joined the NFL. They need to be more consistent on their play calling. If you are calling the game one way then call it the same way for both teams not one sided.
      And let me be clear I am a SPURS fan but most of all I love basketball and I’ve been watching this game since 1971, so I pretty much know the styles of physical ties and as I say in today’s game those were bad bad calls all one sided.

  14. dolphindubs - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    The game isnt called to allow for physical play anymore. This isnt the “old” days of basketball people, so get over it. You cant call those plays fouls and flagrants in every other game then in one particular game suddenly allow it. The players are conditioned by the refs and the league to not expect that so when it happens they are irritated by it. Dont knock Lebron or any other player for calling out the league about it.

    • seabass321 - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Exactly. I for one am glad that the “good ol’ days” of super physical, hit you in the mouth, basketball are over. It would be stupid to watch the NBA if my favorite players were constantly out with injuries

  15. cantonbound13 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    David Stern aka Vince McMahon 2.0 will always take care of the Heat

  16. pudgalvin - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Then Vince carters foul on jimmy butler yesterday damn well better be upgraded to a flagrant. Maybe while they’re at it they can go back and let the refs from that game know that carter’s sideways shoulder check of butler wasn’t a charge and was in fact the single worst call I’ve seen in the NBA this year.

  17. cantonbound13 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:06 PM


  18. michaeljordanseviltwin - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Why isn’t there a rational voice on this blog? LeBron was hit hard enough to get a flagrant foul 2 or 3 times in that game, yet all three hard fouls were called regular personal fouls. I’m not here to reminisce the good ol’ days of Detroit’s ‘Jordan Rules’ bruising defense or to insult a celebrity to make myself feel better… I’m here to read about the wonderful game of basketball. There are rules and maybe the refs forgot one of them for the Bulls/Heat game. LBJ wasn’t happy, the league agreed and that’s that. Even if I hated LeBron I could admit that Chicago got away with a drubbing on him. It worked for that game, but probably won’t in a playoff series.

    • leejesusjackson - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Finally someone with some sense
      You know some people are more to be pitied than scorned.
      Now they love to call right wrong and wrong right. It’s a sick social group of wanting to fit in

    • dacapt704 - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Because you are interjecting rationale and reasoning into this blog…most who post #1 do not understand the game properly and #2 most can’t watch games objectively.

      I hated Jordan growing up (watched his whole career, not in highlights) but I couldn’t hate on dude’s ability, heart or desire…its called being real and leaving personal feelings aside. IMO

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        I’m glad somebody here knows the meaning of ‘objective’. I grew up in Chicago so I can’t always be objective about the Bulls, but I consider myself a fan of the NBA as a whole. I buy the league pass and watch the Timberwolves, Thunder, Warriors and anybody with exciting and/or talented players. Anyways, LeBron is playing at a level most people never thought he’d reach. I’m going to watch and relish in having seen him in his prime.

    • nanrad - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Could you also admit that LBJ has gotten away with flagrants as well???

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        When LeBron got called for a flagrant against Boozer they said it was his first flagrant foul in six years. I couldn’t believe that. I know officials will give LBJ the benefit of the doubt but I’d also argue that part of what makes a player great is his ability to draw fouls. James Harden is the best in the league at drawing contact. I guess I look at it like this is just how the league is. Superstars put a lot of pressure on officials to makes calls and they often get them… but I have never looked at it like the league/officiating is fixed for certain guys.

      • nanrad - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        I was surprised that they called it in general. But, LBJ barely gets called for anything and when he does, he complains. As physical as LBJ plays, he should be called for more. He should have at least two flagrant fouls this season–the Bulls game as well as the Celtics game when he cursed out the refs. That is why I will never believe that LBJ is this otherworldly player that people claim–he is being protected too much and has gotten away with a lot of calls. Missed calls are expected, but calls that are supposed to be against him aren’t missed, they simply aren’t acknowledged. As much as people say the league protects Durant, he has at least six flagrant fouls this season alone.

  19. tombstone7 - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Was Lebron fined for complaining about the refs? Stu Jackson, where are you?

  20. noring4youstill - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Lil Lebron Bron don’t like to be physical

    • mydoghasfleez - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      but your girl does

    • seabass321 - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      Lol, there’s is nothing little about Lebron. And tell that to Kirk Hinrich and the huge lump he has on his head for trying to get in LBJ’s way

  21. lemfaxx - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    I agree with lebron thats really a flagrant foul. But i dont like the idea of upgrading or changing call after the game. Misjudge is part of the game in any sports. Like bryant fouls, hey common men, the game is over theres a winner & a losser.

    • pudgalvin - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      I get what your saying, but they do it for two reasons. One is they keep track of flagrants for suspension reasons. Two is you can’t have a league that never admits they got calls wrong, and that’s especially important in a league that is as tricky to officiate as the NBA. As a fan, it does give me some solace in the league coming out and saying, hey we missed that one.

      • seabass321 - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        lol, and they missed it AFTER the video review during the game. I dont want to sound like a disgruntled fan but there were a lot of calls against the Heat in that game that were just…hinky. And we all know the league has a history for this sort of thing…

  22. lucky5936 - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:38 PM


    LBJ is going to rigtfully take crap for this because he whined and complained publically. The league likely would have looked at this anyway, but the fact that Lebron, who uses his physical nature to his advantage quite often, uncovers yet another reason Lebron will never be a threat to Jordan’s legacy (among other all time greats).

  23. DonRSD - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Let LBJ start going to the hole all while bowling over defenders.
    Then lets see you all cry that he is getting all the calls.

    Bulls are a dirty team.
    Heat will beat them easily in a 7 game series.

    LET’S GO HEAT!!!

    • nanrad - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      The Bulls are not a dirty team and with all those Flagrants that Wade and LBJ commit, you shouldn’t talk.

  24. deeballer - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I think the league is protecting overpaid scrubs like Taj Gibson. What if Lebron wants to foul Taj the same way? I can see attempted murder charges coming out of Chicago. In fact Lebron should take the Old Testament idea to do unto others as they would do to you.

    • leejesusjackson - Mar 31, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Lol and you what he said ” turn the other cheek” but he didn’t say what to do after that,

    • nanrad - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      lol. Dude, the only one being protected is LBJ.

  25. totoywoods - Mar 31, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    hoping that the bulls and the heat meet during playoff…

    i really LOVE lebron!

    really LOVE him yo CRY….


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