LeBron doesn't like rough treatment
There’s no doubt LeBron James was hit hard a few times during Miami’s streak-busting 101-97 loss to the Bulls on Wednesday.
In the first quarter, Kirk Hinrich basically tackled James on a fast break. James was hit in the face by Taj Gibson near the basket in the first half, then a hard foul by Gibson in the fourth quarter was reviewed by referees before being called a common foul.
On the very next possession, Carlos Boozer set a screen on his former Cleveland teammate and James threw his shoulder into Boozer’s chest and also swung his arm without making significant contact. This time, the call was a flagrant foul on James.
That call didn’t effect the game too much (the Bulls scored 1 point on the ensuing free throws plus possession). After the game, Dwyane Wade talked about his teammate’s reaction.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t done it before,” Wade said. “A big guy like (James), no one really wants to see him start trying to inflict pain on other people. He plays the game the right way and it’s unfortunate. He gets reffed like a guy that was in this Miami Heat jersey before, Shaquille O’Neal.
”It’s tough, but that’s why he is who he is. You’ve got to deal with it. Tonight, he decided to get back a little bit. I didn’t think it was that bad, but he got called for it.”
James also talked at length about the situation.
“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. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around the shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not basketball plays.
“It’s been happening all year and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell ‘Spo. ‘Let’s not worry about it too much.’ It is getting to me a little bit, because every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant on me or a technical foul or whatever the case maybe.
“It’s tough. It’s very tough and I’m not sitting here crying about anything, because I play the game at a high level with a lot of aggression and I understand that some of the plays are on the border of being a basketball play or not.”
Naturally, the crowd at the United Center appreciated Hinrich’s takedown and booed James’ rough play against Boozer. But no one on either side complained about the style of play. That just comes with the territory when these teams are involved.
“Welcome to Chicago and Miami basketball,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Added Gibson, “That’s what kind of game it is every time we play them. They were more physical last game they came to Chicago, had us on our heels. This game, we wanted to come out, play a little harder, play a little better.”