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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.

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