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NBA believes right call was made on LeBron’s sixth foul in Game 4

May 30, 2013, 7:59 PM EDT

LeBron James, Derrick Stafford

There has been plenty of talk about the officiating leading up to Game 5 between the Heat and the Pacers. This will be the last word on it in terms of the fallout from Game 4, where LeBron James was whistled for a sixth foul in the closing seconds that resulted in his disqualification.

The league has reviewed the play, which clearly shows Lance Stephenson tripping over LeBron’s foot as he tries to fight through a screen.

James said he didn’t agree with the call, and Stan Van Gundy similarly said it shouldn’t have been enough to warrant a whistle that would send the Heat’s best player to the bench for good with six personal fouls.

The league came down on it differently, however, and confirmed that the correct call was made.

From Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

In the scrutiny over the flopping and officiating in Game 4, the NBA said nothing publicly about the sixth foul on James because the league — specifically executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson and his staff — think it was the right call.

Jackson’s staff reviewed the play several times and zeroed in on video which shows James sticking out his foot, stepping on Stephenson’s foot, tripping Stephenson and impeding his ability to defend. Regardless of intent, the league thinks the right call was made.

James was done talking about it, and told reporters as much before Thursday night’s matchup. We’re done with it now, too — until a whole new set of questionable calls presents itself in Game 5.

  1. kingbeason52 - May 30, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Hey one is questioning if it was a foul or not. People are questioning the integrity of the refs your putting out on the floor..

  2. kanemoney - May 30, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    That’s not a playoff foul. That’s not a 4th quarter foul. That’s not a last 2 minute foul. That’s not a MVP foul.

    If you want to nit pick, I can show you a foul, travel or 3 second violation on any play.

  3. thetooloftools - May 30, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Wow. Since when is the NBA dealing with fouls by a star. Hey NBA… Google Lebron James and Sharon Reed. Wow. Bet that won’t happen. Why does the NBA SMOTHER the private life of it’s players and Charles Barkley muzzles it? Gee. I don’t know.
    The NBA has lost me.
    The Ghetto has taken over the game and nobody cares.

  4. bougin89 - May 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    It was a foul if your going by the rule book….but in that situation…really??

  5. 13arod - May 30, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    not a foul they are trying to get the heat out of the nba championship

  6. savvybynature - May 30, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    With all the legitimately bad calls — the phantom shot clock violation, the out of bounds on call where they said it went off David West even after replay, the traveling call on Wade — I’m surprised this call has gotten so much attention.
    It was the right call. He tripped Stephenson with his foot, and beyond that he set the screen behind the player then kinda jumped out at him with the screen. I understand the argument that you can’t call that foul on the best player on the court at that point in the game, etc, but you have to look at it from the refs standpoint too. It is already difficult to officiate NBA games (as the crew from game 4 generously demonstrated), it would be asking too much to make them consider if a foul is a foul within the context of the player being whistled and the game situation. They look for fouls and call them, period. It’s a split second judgment.

  7. jaerba - May 30, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    The fifth foul was actually a worse call than the sixth.

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