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LeBron fouls out, doesn’t agree with calls

May 29, 2013, 1:39 AM EDT

Heat's LeBron James reacts after fouling out against the Pacers during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series in Indianapolis AP

LeBron James just doesn’t foul out.

It has happened twice since he joined the Heat, five times in his entire NBA career (the last one against the Celtics last playoffs). In the middle of this season he went through a six-game stretch where he wasn’t called for one foul.

But with :56 seconds left in Game 4 Tuesday night, LeBron was called for a moving screen on Lance Stephenson. That was No. 6. Much to the delight of the vocal Indiana crowd LeBron went to the bench. It’s not likely his presence would have changed the outcome of this game, but without him and a clearly slowed Dwyane Wade running the show it was pretty much a lock the Pacers would win.

On a night where the one universal cry was that the officials were missing things both ways, you can add LeBron to the group. He didn’t think four of the fouls he got called for deserved a whistle, particularly the last one.

“I was going to set a screen and I felt like I was stationary — and D Wade rejected the pick and roll,” LeBron said in his televised postgame press conference. “Lance actually ran into me….

“I believe I was straight up and down on Paul George’s drive, on the and-1. They reversed a call with (Roy) Hibbert, called a foul on me on that one. And at the end of the third they called a push off on David West

“It was a couple of calls that I didn’t feel like were fouls, personal fouls on me. That’s how the game goes sometimes.”

I will grant LeBron that the last call was a bad one. As he said, Wade went away from the pick, when that happens you can’t really set a moving screen because there is no screen being used. That was a no-call at any point in the game.

But all night long the game was called tightly and not everyone adjusted. I’d like to see the referees let the guys play a little at this point, but it was what hit was. Also, the referees missed calls both ways — there was a terrible 24-second clock violation on the Pacers at one point.

Miami didn’t lose this game because of the refs — they multiple chances to put this game away, but all night they struggled to stop the Pacers offense, and in the key final minutes they had no answer for Roy Hibbert. The Heat lost this game because of a slow start, and because the Pacers are good, and because the vaunted Heat defense couldn’t get the job done. It wasn’t the refs.

But I wouldn’t bet on LeBron fouling out next game.

122 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. waynegretsky77 - May 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    oh what about last year game 2 heat boston, what now.

  2. redbaronx - May 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Out of all the stats I’ve ever seen, I think five games without a single foul is pretty damn impressive! Another reason LeBron is amazing.

    Note: I’m not a LeBron fan…..(The decision etc.)

    • jollyjoker2 - May 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Any ref can make a call even if the player was just getting waived at. I saw it with jordon and shaq with the shoulder. If next game is called fair, it will be a good game. If not, Miami will run them out of dodge and take it 6.

      • redbaronx - May 30, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        I don’t think officiating has had anything to do with game outcomes in this series.

    • anjohn39 - May 29, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Im not a heat fan either but that 5 game stretch without a foul doesn’t exist. Its fluff. They want to validate him as the only player that can guard 1-5 and he can’t. Dennis rodman is the only player i can think of that could do that . He actually us to guard Shaq for long stretches

  3. mediocrebob - May 29, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I don’t know about the first 5 but that last foul was in fact no foul at all. For that to be called in that situation is a joke. I didn’t stay up to watch LeBron foul out on something like that. Most of these refs need to get it together.

    • jollyjoker2 - May 29, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      Ha ha…welcome to the NBA. Lebron will get the shoulder calls next game when it counts. This was a gimme game to Indiana. You go down 3-1; to many fans don’t want to watch. Next game – lebron could be an ax murderer and get away with it.

    • anjohn39 - May 29, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      I think just the opposite. He is suppose to be the best player on the planet and in every game this series Lebron has been making big time mistakes..turn over after turn over and he knows it I can see it on his face. At that stage of the game in Playoffs ..what the hell are you trying to set a screen for. Its your time with the ball in your Hand. Mj is not setting a pick in that scenario and neither would KOBE and the reason …Is because both of those players have more tools than Lebron

  4. baywatchboy - May 29, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    LeBron went 6 games without being called for a foul? Any foul at all? How does a player of his size and aggressiveness go 6 games without being called for one foul?

  5. mannyfresh209 - May 29, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    A LOT of the calls were ticky-tack at best….BAD to be realistic. That being said, the game was being the same horrid way against both teams. The ONE call that was a legit GAME CHANGER was the “traveling” call against Dwyane Wade at the end of the game. That was a legit step back, done by just about everybody in the league when they create their own shot. Battier hit that 3, would’ve been a 1 point game and made the last 26 seconds MUCH more interesting. Outcome most likely would’ve been the same, but you never know.

    All in all, the NBA wins. They don’t pay the refs on a game to game basis, but they themselves get paid more with each game that’s televised on TV, with ratings and such.

  6. mannyfresh209 - May 29, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Anyone care to tally up the +/- on FT disparity in this series? For those saying that the Heat get too many gift calls, check the stat sheet.

  7. ajx007 - May 29, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    I personally feel its ironic that a player who has enjoyed the luxury of calls going his way on both the offensive AND defensive end for most of his career, will then find the courage to criticize the vary system of which he is catered to season after season. Even more ironic is the fact that he is support of what has come to be known as flopping- or attempting to create a foul where none existed. Recently saying that he doesn’t “see a problem with it”. So on one hand, he agrees with deceiving the referees to quote “gain an advantage”- which, for anyone watching, will be received as a bad call. Yet, feels he was the recipient of bad officiating in this game. I don’t understand how one person can have both of those views simultaneously. That’s like Kevin Mchale complaining about hard fouls.

  8. valeb2012 - May 29, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Let me say up front: I despise the Heat and LeBron. I can’t stand that dude. His comment about flopping yesterday (along with Wade’s comment) just convinced me that he’s a subpar competitor compared to MJ, Kobe, among others. BUT, LeBron has a legitimate point about the fouls. The blocking call when he contested PG was a great attempt that adheres to the “verticality” rule. I replayed it about five times. It should’ve been a non-call, IMO. The other fouls are all subject to ref judgment. I was surprised by the illegal screen call, just because it’s the 4th qtr of a EConf game, esp on the MVP — I didn’t expect that. Kenny “the jet” Smith on TNT later said he thought it was a bad call and then changed his mind when he saw the replay in slowmotion. As Barkley said, it turned out to be a trip because Lebron extended his foot onto LS’s and had a wide stance. Technically a foul, but I’ve seen far worse by Noah, Garnett, Duncan, TChandler — pretty much every big guy in the league. So Lebron probably didn’t deserve a couple of his fouls. But I am so glad Miami lost. Honestly, that 24-sec violation and the out of bounds on DWest were bad calls. I think the Wade travel was very close. You can’t take 2 steps in slow motion. It needn’t have been a travel, but it can be called again depending on ref judgment. Anyway, even though I can’t f stand the Heat and LeBron, watching this series is great!

  9. udogg - May 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    The best analysis I’ve read (can’t remember the writer or the site) about the call against Lebron was that by being in favor of trying to “get calls” through flopping or other means, then he leaves himself no room for complaints when they go against him.

  10. ajx007 - May 29, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    To Mr. Kurt Hellin, I thank you for welcoming me. Though while I am new to PBT, I am very well acquainted with basketball and the NBA. Thus, I can say that I have watched every one of Michael Jordans games in there entirerty, well before there was a such a thing as espn classic. That being said, I am of coarse well aware of the fact that superstar treatment is far from a recent problem, unfortunately. And by comparison, Jordan and Lebron are both physical players. Yet with all these things being valid, I fail to recall Jordans exemption from fouls; and from game to game, he teetered between two and four fouls. So, while the point that superstars have been the the beneficiaries of preferencial treatment since the Jordan era and beyond, its an even better point to consider that such treatment has shall we say, ‘heightened’, since Jordan retired from the bulls. That is, going six games without a single foul. Now, claiming that this is a league wide problem, and giving in to the notion that any bad calls garnered by the pacers, will be even some what equaled by similarly questionable calls against the heat, is without merit. And I say this because the heat/celtics series from last years playoffs still exists in my memory- and the similarities in the officiating is striking to put it mildly. That, combined with a spurs/grizzlies series that, save for the last game, was spared the unbalanced officiating that seems to have followed the heat since the inception of the big three. You conspicuously mentioned game 3, which, serves your point well. But I think better examination can be given to game 2. Say, Mahnimi receiving a technical for swiping at the ball- which, was followed by Lebron giving him a very technical worthy ‘talking to’. Now, all things being fare; we could easily agree that this was a non anything. In the worst of senarios, a double technical. But consider that Mahnimi alone earned a technical. Then consider that assistant coach Brian Shaw would receive a follow up technical- with Hansboroughs technical coming just a few plays later. To your point, this is a game the pacers did end up winning. So if the team remains poised through all the erroneous calls, the game can remain winnable. But to deny the game altering affect of bad officiating is, I think, a misstep. If football is a game of inches, basketball is most certainly a game of momentum. And nothing ruins momentum more than three consecutive technicals, for example. It seems to be habitual for the heats runs to be prefaced by a series of bad calls that stifle the opposing teams rhythm.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      Ajax: Many thumbs up brah! Solid post.

  11. taotiger77 - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Two things: 1. With all the flopping going on many calls are arguable. Flopping gives a ref cause to make a borderline call. 2.It is simply impossible to go over 5 games without committing one foul unless you are on the bench the entire time. For a player that handles the ball as much as LeBron does and not get 1 foul is purposeful by the refs. that 5 game stretch put the E in entertainment which is what the NBA is. It is a corporation and all about money.

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