Posted March 28, 2013

Heat’s LeBron James upset over physical plays in loss to Bulls

Ben Golliver, Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Kirk Hinrich, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Taj Gibson

By Ben Golliver

LeBron James sounded off about the officiating after the Heat’s first defeat in nearly two months. The Associated Press reported that Miami’s star forward was unhappy with the Bulls’ physical treatment of him in a 101-97 loss in Chicago on Wednesday.

“I’m not sitting here crying about anything,” James said. “I play the game at a high level, I play with a lot of aggression, I understand that some of the plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not. But sometimes, you know, I don’t know … it’s frustrating.”

James took exception to two plays in particular. In the first play, which can be viewed above, he was essentially tackled to the floor by Kirk Hinrich as he attacked the paint in transition with a little less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter. Hinrich wrapped up James’ upper body using both of his arms, in a quasi-hug, and made no play on the ball.

On the second play, which can be viewed below, James was knocked to the court by Bulls forward Taj Gibson as he attacked the basket with four minutes left in in the fourth quarter. Replays showed Gibson’s left arm swiping down on James’ left shoulder as he attempted to raise the ball to shoot. The foul was originally deemed a flagrant foul 1 but was downgraded to a personal foul upon a video review.

The reigning MVP wasn’t pleased.

“I believe, and I know, that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays,” James said. “First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. And the last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground.

“Those are not basketball plays. And it’s been happening all year. I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell [coach Erik Spoelstra], `Let’s not worry about it too much,’ but it is getting to me a little bit.”

His frustration boiled over seconds later, as he intentionally slammed into Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, who was setting a high screen for Hinrich. James appeared to look at Boozer and move intentionally into him with great force. James was assessed a flagrant foul 1 on the play, which can be viewed below.

James finished with a game-high 32 points (on 11-for-17 shooting), seven rebounds, three assists, four blocks and two steals in 40 minutes. He also attempted a game-high 11 free throws as the Bulls looked to make it a rough night on him throughout.

So does James have reason to vent? He’s not totally out of line, but the referees’ rulings on all three plays seemed reasonable.

Hinrich’s foul was sloppy and a bit helpless, but it wasn’t dirty. That it occurred on the ground rather than in the air prevented a more dangerous situation. Gibson’s play involved significant contact, and it’s a question whether he was going for the ball. The Bulls’ forward caught a break that his blow hit James’ shoulder and not his head or neck; otherwise, the flagrant foul call would have certainly held up. The fact that Gibson didn’t follow through, which could have caused real damage, likely helped his case. Finally, James’ flagrant was the classic, annoying retaliation call that we see on a regular basis. That foul fails James’ own standard, as it was clearly not a “basketball play” but an act of aggression and disappointment, given the Heat’s late-game deficit and the physical plays on the other end.

It’s possible that the NBA will decide to retroactively assess a flagrant foul on either Hinrich or Gibson, or both, but these fouls don’t seem to demand it. The Heat can surely expect more physical treatment between now and June. James knows that better than anyone. You can’t blame him if these comments are his attempt to lay a little preemptive groundwork.

Top video via YouTube user G4NBAVideos | Middle video via YouTube user G4NBAVideos | Bottom video via YouTube user NBAHighlightsOnly

43 comments
g-man1
g-man1

Stop crying and play basketball, you are always going to have a bulls eye on your back, you are campions.

jcal1307
jcal1307

Dwight Howard gets fouled harder than that all the time and it's never called a "dirty play". It's called a good stop. It was just hard fouls. That's all. I mean they get almost every call they want already. If you look at the Heat play they play physical all the time but hardly any fouls go against them. Then you have Wade and James always screaming at the refs but no T's ever called. Look at the other stars in the league. They are the Tom Brady of the NBA. The "Golden Ones."

Hienieken
Hienieken

All the fouls looks like they were called the way they should have been.  You see the bear hug a lot, and considering the massive size difference, I think Kirk hugged him more to protect himself from being pummeled.  If anything, I thought James was more excessive after the hug, as you can see his arms extending as he pushes Kirk off him.  It's all reactive, so I can't say it was dirty, but I think that act was far more dangerous than Hinrich's hug.

nashrocks
nashrocks

whinning, sniveling , little baby ! could not like any athlete less !

Nate6
Nate6

hey queen shame,have a coke and a smile and shut the #$%@ up!

MikeKW
MikeKW

Quit whining, Bron Bron.  You couldn't have played back in the day,  the 80's & 90's if you are crying about the play of that game.

 

nathan13
nathan13

The Screen on Deng was an offensive foul.  The Heat have been proving to be nearly unbeatable.  The Bulls are outgunned and over matched.  They have to play them physical.  It's a no-brainer and its good basketball.  Pound them on on the boards and foul hard = best bet to beat the Heat. Thank you Prof. Thibideou.  I didn't see any dirty plays.  Hinrich was trying to wrap him up, but was in front of him so Lebron ran him over.  If he didn't want to "get thrown to the ground" all he had to do was stop running.  He was obviously wrapped up - sorry, Kirk is not gonna take the foul and then let you shoot.  I wouldn't have been mad if they called a flagrant because it looked bad, but no one was trying to hurt anyone, and no one got hurt.  They could have let the Lebron foul go.  It didn't look any worse than screen the Heat player (can't tell who it was) set on Deng.  Let them play.  The only reason they had to call at least a tech was because Boozer was about to show Lebron why he is not a power forward.  Good game.  Its one loss or win depending whose side your on.  Take what you can from it and move on.  The pressure to keep the streak going had to be getting distracting.  Now the Heat can focus on winning a championship.  And in case this game was not enough of a wake up call--Hey Lebron, they are going to play you physical in the playoffs.

DrFaz
DrFaz

The unchosen bum claims that he's really a football player in a basketball uniform ... What a pampered bozo!!!

abcdxyz
abcdxyz

The "King" should be treated like a Queen on court and off!!! whine whine whine !!!!!!

TOperspective
TOperspective

Lebron should watch the tape and see what the Pistons used to do to Jordan.  Stop whining.

riley8
riley8

Dude makes millions.  Elbows players setting legal screens and has the audacity to say others are too physical with him?  Hey "King" look up the word hypocrite and tell us all what it means.  I think you'll find a pic of yourself there.

TA1
TA1

LeBron is like a Karl Malone with A LOT more agility.  He should have warning signs...

Charles19
Charles19

Shorter LeBron: "Waaaaah!  Waaaaaaaaaaah!"

ajudki20
ajudki20

Maybe a guy like Lebron who gets every conceivable call to go his way should just shut his mouth and be happy. Teams have to play a player who's game is build on physically overpowering them physically. He should get used to more of this. Watch some old school NBA if you think this is too rough. 

TA1
TA1

Quit it.....  LeBron turned right into Hinrich and, yeah he was flagrantly mauled on the take down.  LeBron drove his shoulder right at Boozer's ribcage was definitely flagrant!  LeBron gets more calls than Kobe..

TarHeelFan1001
TarHeelFan1001

Both flagrant fouls. I agree with LeBron. Uncalled for, not "basketball" plays. If you are going to be able to lariat guys going to the basket than we should change this to the WWE. Kirk was playing tackle football out there on his foul.

RyanC883
RyanC883

all calls were correctly made.  james is a baby. 

I.p.Whitfield
I.p.Whitfield

The way he dunked on Jason Terry and other players I know he is not talking.............  If you felt that teams was just supposed to let you come in the paint and just dunk over them without it being contested then you are nuts....... Not every team in the league is scared of the Heat

 

TodoBien
TodoBien

LE QUEEN JAMES AT ITS FINNEST!

ironpostgirl
ironpostgirl

Hinrich was simply trying to take a charge. James deliberately lowered his head and shoulder and tried to run over Hinrich. But no one seems to be willing to call him out on that. If you've ever seen Hinrich play, you know he isn't going to back down defensively...and that's to his credit. It wasn't a dirty play by any stretch of the imagination. Defenders wrap up players in the low post all the time to try and prevent dunks. So how this is "not a absketball play" I don't know. James easily could have tried to sidestep Hinrich, but instead he deliberately plowed into him. So, sorry, he shouldn't be whining about this play.

OK
OK

Awwwww, Da Queen be unhappy da league not give her and da Heat da game.

 

Let's all have a good cry for Da Queen. Throw in da Little Bosh Woman and Show Me Da Green or I Ain't Playin' for Da Red, White, and Blue.

 

Too bad for Da Queen. (sniff, sniff)

Brian11
Brian11

The way the writer puts it, it seems he thinks Hinrich's play was uncalled for.  That's ridiculous!  James decided to bull right through him and Hinrich did his best to keep both of them from being hurt by wrapping him up.  James made the decision that they were both going to the floor no matter what Hinrich did.  He's lucky Hinrich was nice enough to give him that bear hug to prevent either from being injured.  Lebron should be apologizing for his classless move of giving the forearm to Boozer.  He was the only one who fouled with malice.  End of story!

ChrisPeterson
ChrisPeterson

Lebron can start having flagrant calls from the refs as soon as the refs start calling the left handed forearm and push off he uses every single time he goes to the basket.

dallasamemail
dallasamemail

Le Queen, just crying like a little sissy.  When will they start calling three steps on the little girl?  Tired of seeing him make three clear steps and they don't call it.

 

Someone needs to sign a NFL tight end at 6'6" 295 and take him down when he does his drive like a running back. 

TheKeyks
TheKeyks

I know he was in the game, but I watched all 4 quarters, he was just as aggressive as anyone else on the court. Lebron, you are a all star player, undeniably the best in the league (until Derrick returns), stop crying like a girl, and play the damn game 101-97 had you got both of the call the score could've been 101-99, you still would've lost. So shut the hell up and play the game you were born to play.

Spiffy
Spiffy

So did James complain at all about hard fouls during the Heat's win streak? If not, then it is pure sour grapes on his part. Of course teams are going to try and be physical with the Heat - it's one of the few ways you can beat them.

 

He should be more angry at Dwayne Wade whose miserable defense yesterday helped cost the Heat the game.

 

No one likes a sore loser, and this is what it is coming across as.

KyleTaggart
KyleTaggart

If Hinrich was not trying to protect himself and put his arms around him it should have been an offensive foul. Only thing James looked like he was trying to do was barrel trough him. I also find it funny James tried to put his shoulder down into Boozer and Boozer just took it like a man in comparison to James falling to the ground after he got fouled on the other play mentioned.

sleazoid991
sleazoid991

 @MikeKW I think he's getting frustrated, yes, but he definitely could've played "back in the day". If there were more contact and fewer whistles than he would adapt his style, just like any other player in that era did.

nobody
nobody

 @ajudki20 Could you imagine if he had played against the Bad Boys of Detroit or the Ewing-led Knicks? Heck, even the Miami Heat had a pretty tough D once upon a time!

TarHeelFan1001
TarHeelFan1001

 @TA1 Agreed. LeBron's foul that he committed was flagrant, no doubt about that. I doubt Boozer got hurt though as he barely moved. If he really wanted to hurt someone he could have tossed some elbows around.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @TarHeelFan1001 Apparently not flagrant fouls.  Strictly basketball plays.  Except in the world of Lebron James, who has no issue running over little guys like Jason Terry and Beno Udrih and standing over them woofing after he dunked on them in a two-on-one situation, but whines and complains when someone bumps him around.  The guy is the best player in the league but is there any question as to why so many people are tired of him?

mike_zierolf
mike_zierolf

 @TarHeelFan1001  Dude seriously? people get wrapped up all the time with both arms trying to prevent the shooter getting the shot up. In this case Lebron was goin at full speed when kirkwrapped him up and they both fell to the ground on their own momentum.. He didn't body slam the guy haha.. Plus Lebron is bein a baby and  a hypocrite once again. A team actually gets phsyical with him with some hard CLEAN fouls ( go watch some basketball in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s these are ALL basektball plays).. and he then he gose and takes a shot at Boozer almost elbowin him.... Lebron is now almost 30 and he's still acting like a high school kid... Each time i start to say ok Lebron u got ur act together a little bit he goes and show his diva side. 

Dino N
Dino N

 @NemanjaRasic Yeah well grow some f***ing balls and play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

nobias
nobias

 

 I agree with Riley8 about Bron sets hard sceens, Ajudki20 that Bron gets(as far as I'm concerned, TOO many) calls his way, Joe Cabot's last statement, Ironpostgirl's - good obs... I thought I was the only one that noticed THAT, Brian 11 and Chris Peterson. And lastly, Spiffy's excellent pt. of 'no complaints during streak 'till loss. I consider myself a non-biased objective observer, still I hav favs. I'm not that kind of fan who's thinks his team does NO wrong,we all know some people like that. But the Refs really hold the balance of most outcomes. They should be MORE consistant or the "Calls Rule Book" should be captioned under every questionable call. It won't slow game down. Then, the TV viewing audience can determine if he's following the book or made an on-the-spot judgement call with extenuating circumstances we can not see. 

TA1
TA1

 @TarHeelFan1001

 

A shoulder into the sternum bruise would take you out of a game pretty fast.   Elbows are too noticeable...

TarHeelFan1001
TarHeelFan1001

 @JoeCabot That Terry dunk was possibly the best dunk this year. That is why I watch basketball. I am not sure why you are comparing that to this situation.

I think if similar fouls happened in a pick up game there would be a fight (especially the Gibson foul). Charles Oakley (dating myself with that reference) would have been ejected for his response to that kind of foul.  

TarHeelFan1001
TarHeelFan1001

 @mike_zierolf You want to see a big baby than watch how Blake Griffin responds to contact. I mean seriously he needs to grow up. I think LeBron was kinda controlled in his reaction. If that was Metta World Peace we might have some gun fire exchanged after what he went through. 

 

PS - I am not a heat fan - as my name suggests I follow my Tar Heels in the NBA and like NBA basketball. I am, however, a LeBron fan since the playoffs last year when he transformed from just being a physical specimen into the best player in the league.

 

Also if you want to take a charge you do so with both hands to your side not by wrapping them around the other player in a bear hug.

TA1
TA1

 @mike_zierolf  @TarHeelFan1001

 

If I were Hinrich, I would have hugged him so I could spin him around and have some padding to land on.  Okay, that was a dream....  Actually, I don't think Hinrich had a chance to get out of the way and he was just hanging on for dear life....

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @TarHeelFan1001  The point was, and still is, that LBJ is okay with jumping on guys and celebrating himself, but when another player attempts to stop him with a hard foul it suddenly becomes an issue.  Some of these divas want playground ball.  Except for the parts that they don't like.  Then they complain.   Apparently LBJ wants the rest of the league to let the Heat run roughshod.  Good for the Bulls for standing up.  Kudos in advance to the next team that does the same.

TA1
TA1

 @TarHeelFan1001  

 

I follow all the Carolina schools players in the NBA till Giants time and then the NBA is over, while the boys of summer play..