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LeBron challenges Roy Hibbert at the rim in Game 6, gets called for the foul, picks up a technical (VIDEO)

Jun 2, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

This is what we’ve been clamoring to see the entire series, and it took until late in Game 6 before it finally went down.

LeBron James has avoided challenging Roy Hibbert inside for the better part of all six games between the Heat and the Pacers. It’s not fear, obviously, but it may be a sense of cautiousness or a case of overthinking things when it comes to James taking the ball hard to the rack while Hibbert is there patrolling the paint.

That changed late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, and the end result of it all was Indiana pushing its lead back to 13 and sealing the victory to force a seventh game.

WIth 4:18 to play and the Pacers leading by nine, James drives down the lane and elevates as Hibbert is there waiting for him. Both players collide in midair, and on a play that almost always results in a foul being called on the defensive player in that situation — especially when the one with the ball is named LeBron — James is the one whistled for the offensive foul.

Watching the play multiple times from multiple angles, the referees may have seen James initially lead with his right knee in a manner very similar to what we saw from Shane Battier earlier in this series. LeBron’s knee was much more subtle, and he appeared to have it retracted before making contact. But the vision of Battier’s knee to Hibbert’s groin was likely fresh in the officials’ minds, and once they saw the knee of James similarly extended, the decision was made to whistle him for the charge.

What happened next helped put the game away for good in the Pacers’ favor.

James appeared to be both shocked and offended that this particular call didn’t go his way, so he took off sprinting the length of the floor to let his displeasure be known. He was correctly issued a technical foul for his actions, and a Heat assistant coach was given a technical on the same play, as well.

The ensuing possession resulted in four points for the Pacers, and pushed the lead back up to 13, eliminating any slim chances that might have remained of the Heat continuing their comeback.

Afterward, LeBron was candid in speaking with reporters about how things unfolded from his perspective.

“I had to run down the court to stop from being kicked out,” James said. “I thought it was a pretty bad call. I don’t complain about calls too much. I thought me and Hibbert met at the mountaintop. I didn’t throw an elbow. Basically I went straight up. And I knew he was going to go high hands, like he had been doing. So I went to a double‑clutch to try to let him go down. Then I was able to go over the top. I don’t have no idea why that was called an offensive foul.

“So, you know, it just stopped me from being ejected. I think at that moment I just got away from the ref that called it. I ran down the court to get me away from the scene of the crime, I guess.”

Hibbert said he was just there to have his All-Star wing man’s back.

“That play right there, I tell [Paul George], I have his back all the time,” Hibbert said. “If he gets beat, LeBron has a large launching pad, I don’t block a lot of shots all the time, but I try to alter it as much as possible and not to give up any easy plays. Because the momentum could have shifted right there if he got an easy dunk.  There was what — was it Game 3 here?  I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when LeBron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint, because they stretched me out so much.

“But I wanted to be there for him. He’s the future. I mean, I think he has a chance to be MVP of this league next year. Every guard needs to have a big guy to have his back. So I’m that guy.”

The guy that gets the best of this matchup between James and Hibbert in Game 7 will be the one headed to the NBA Finals.

  1. 13arod - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    very bad call if it was called on hibbert then miami would have beaten them they will beat him next time

    • biasedhomer - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      I agree, it would have been a very bad call if it was called on Hibbert.

      • hodaghunter - Jun 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        This is exactly what LeBron’s 5th foul was in game 4. LeBron went straight up and got whistled for it and all the trolls on the internet was calling it a foul. Now Hibbert had the same thing and everyone says it’s an offensive foul.

        In my opinion both were no-calls. Two guys going straight up… And I don’t even like the Heat…

    • spthegr8 - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      ” I don’t complain about calls too much ” LMAO!! If he doesnt complain about calls a lot, then he has en evil twin brother who does a lot of complaing!!!! Just Saying!!

  2. jhuck92 - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    And this little flopper cried “Foul, Foul, Foul!” all the way home.

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      And then when Miami wins game 7, this little troll will cry, “Fix, Fix, Fix!” all the way under the bridge.

  3. jagsfan13 - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    The part I’m not understanding here is why was there a technical called on LeBron for running the length of the floor after the initial foul was called? And what did the assistant get a technical for? In the replay they never showed his actions that warranted a technical being called on him. And TNT is usually right on top of replays being shown to keep the audience aware of what’s happening.
    I don’t think this was necessarily a momentum shifting event, but it MIGHT have changed the amount the Pacers won by, but we’ll never know.
    I did have to chuckle at lebron’s comment saying he never complains about fouls being called on him. If that’s the case then he must be asking the refs, “How’s the family. or Watch that NHL playoff game last night?” everytime one’s called on him and he wanders over next to the official calling one on him, right?

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      LeBron deserved a tech for that. He was showing up the refs — he didn’t just turn and take a few steps away from the refs, guys do that all the time and it should be allowed. But an all-out 90 foot sprint is over the top and clearly aimed to show up the call.

  4. jacksonkane - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    In today’s NBA, that is a defensive foul. He was moving, didn’t go straight up, was in the restricted area and is defending the MVP. I am sick and tired of how this series is being officiated. That was a play-on at worst, at best a blocking foul.

    On the other end, the amount of defensive fouls Hibbert draws is disgusting. I am having flashback of Shaq, where every play there is a foul, it’s just how they will call it. I am sad for myself that I will be watching years more of this. Rest assured I will be shouting profanities at the TV for years to come.

  5. sportsnut101 - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    Lebron is the biggest 260lb baby I’ve ever seen. I thought he wet his pants after this call n ran home without the ball

    Was it a bad call yes. Should just of been a no call hibbert when straight up. Lebron went straight up.

    Heat woulda won if they gave the ball to mike miller again after he hit those 2 straight threes he gets hot in a second if he’s on the floor u run plays for him for the three but instead Norris cole took the next three was open look yes but miller better shooter

    I want pacers to win. Just enough of the heat drama stars lebron wines so much man. Like being the best on the planet isn’t good enough. Dwade just prays for a ref to bail him out gees thank god his girl is hot otherwise I wouldn’t care
    N bosh how bout this summer u practice with amare n both go visit Hakeem n learn how to play the post.

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Hibbert was 2 feet inside the no charge circle. Even so, he clearly brought his arms down on LeBron across his head. It was a terrible call.

    Okay, back to Pearl Jam radio. Wishlist is on. Not my favorite, but still

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Exactly 1972. If he wasn’t in that circle, maybe it was a charge. But you can’t take a charge when you’re in that circle.

      • david0303 - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        the circle was irrelevant for that play because lebron was called for leading with the elbow so it doesn’t matter where on the floor it happened

  7. bcwildcat24 - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Here’s what everybody who says “this was a good call” needs to realize. Watch the play again. Did anybody notice where Roy Hibbert was standing in the lane when he took the charge? He had not 1, both feet inside the restricted circle. You know that circle where a charge can NOT be called when the secondary defender (which Hibbert was) has any part of his body in there? Please, read the rules before you pop off and say it was a good call.

    • david0303 - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      maybe you should read the rules because a charge can be called if the player is in the restricted area in cases like this one where they said lebron led with his elbow so the restricted area doesn’t matter in this case

  8. elcapitanfiscal - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    I like lebron but man he acted like a clown after that call..

    With this happening after all his flopping, he is making himself look like a crybaby..

    Perhaps he can help his image with a big game 7

  9. remmsterr - Jun 2, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    Yeah, LeBron why was it an offensive foul? Its not like you kneed Hibbert as you went up or anything, right? (I hope everyone gets the sarcasm)

  10. mazblast - Jun 2, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    “I don’t complain about calls too much.”

    In what universe, LeBron? You and KoMe lead the freaking league in both complaining and in getting the call when you’re the aggressor. In a league where most of the “stars” are more petulant than 14-year-old girls (my apologies to any 14-year-old girls out there), where a good quarter of the players probably deserve at least one T per game for their whining, you lead the bunch.

    But don’t worry, LeBron, Dyane, Chrissy Bosh, Patty Riley, and all the Heat “fans”. Stern knows what the league is all about–money, selling sh** (money), ratings (money)–and that means the Designated Winners must win. It’s the way the NBA has been run since Little Caesar took over, it’s the way it’s going to be under his henchmen. And don’t think that Monday’s refs, facing possible unemployment or lots of Tuesdays and Thursdays in Cleveland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Sacramento, etc., don’t know it.

  11. remmsterr - Jun 2, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    And for everyone saying that LeBron didn’t deserve a tech. for running down the court and showing up the referee are wrong. You’ve been watching a series where, Sam Young was given a tech. for simply staring at LeBron “the wrong way” and Tyler Hansbrough was given one for being shoved from behind, standing up, and then gettting shoved again without retaliating. But y’all are saying that LeBron showing up a referee by running all the way down to the other side of the court, yelling “Whhaattt!?!?” With that bewildered look on his face, isn’t a reason to give em a tech.? Please.

  12. monkeyhateclean - Jun 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    LeFlop is a joke. Its a damn shame so much natural talent and athleticism belongs to such an undeserving coward.

  13. airball1 - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Take a look at what Heat Head Coach Spoelstra does when George Hill gets ready to release his two penalty shots. He is right at Hill’s peripheral vision when he quickly lifts his left arm…both times. It seems to me that the head coach is resorting to distracting the shooter. Now, I’ve seen that from low rate bench warmers but I was frankly disappointed observing it from a head coach. Yah, I suppose there is nothing illegal about that, but it clearly demonstrates, IMHO, a real lack of class or professionalism.

  14. canehouse - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    AAA will be geeked up tomorrow night… can’t wait. Great Series!!!

  15. phillyfanmatt - Jun 3, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Lets just face the facts here. If you are rooting for the Pacers you will say it was a good call all day long. And if you are a Heat fan then it was a bad call. The way I see it is the call could have gone either way and was not the only reason the Heat lost the game.

  16. picktechnologies - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    good stuff

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