LeBron James was mocked last night after the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls to regain control of the Eastern Conference semi-final series. Why? Well, some people thought that James, the league’s MVP, should have been given an Oscar last night for his flopping performance.
The Chicago Bulls have been playing short-handed for most of the playoffs. In addition to Derrick Rose, the Bulls are also playing with Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich. And on Friday night, they lost another man when LeBron James flopped and fell to the ground.
At least that’s the way that the Bulls see it.
Coach Tom Thibadeau said: “From my angle, I just saw a guy flop.”
After receiving a hard foul while bringing the ball up the court, James threw Nazr Mohammed to the ground. The league’s MVP was immediately given a technical foul and Mohammed should have just let it go. But Mohammed stood up and retaliated, shoving James to the floor.
Well, Mohammed shoved James. The fall to the floor is up for interpretation.
Mohammed said that he didn’t deserve to get thrown out for pushing James. The Bulls back up center said that he should have gotten a technical but that he was only thrown out because James flopped and fell to the ground.
Mohammed said: “I do believe it warranted a tech. We’ve had guys jumping on Nate’s face, guys backing up Marco Belinelli out of bounds. There’s been a lot of plays that didn’t get ejections … A push shouldn’t get an ejection. … It was a cheap shot throwing me down.”
Nate Robinson added: “You see LeBron in a lot of commercials, a lot of good acting.”
Taj Gibson said that the NBA has moved into an era where tic-tac plays warrant technical and flagrant fouls. Gibson brought up the “LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan” debate and said that MJ would never flop to get a call.
Gibson said: “M.J. would get fouled and he would just keep playing … That’s old-school basketball.”
Here’s a video of the play. Do you think LeBron James flopped? Did Mohammed deserve an ejection?
James, who previously said that the Bulls were a dirty team that made non-basketball fouls, said that he would have retaliated after being pushed but restrained himself because he knew what was on the line. James added that if this was on the playground, the Bulls would have been in for a brawl.
James said: “If I get kicked out and Nazr Mohammed gets kicked out, they win … It’s that simple. If it would have happened on the playground, it would have been a different story because I had a bunch of friends and a bunch of buddies that wouldn’t have allowed that. I haven’t been in a situation like that before. But I’m too cool. My mind is in another place right now.”
Thibs vented his frustrations last night and came dangerously close to earning a fine for publicly criticizing the referees. Thibs made it clear that he thought the Heat were getting the benefit of the doubt while the Bulls were being penalized. Still, Thibs promised to adjust and be ready for Sunday night.
Thibs pointed to a few tic-tac fouls on Jimmy Buttler and a big rebounding foul on Joakim Noah as examples of the unfair officiating.
Thibs said: “Jimmy (Butler) plays with a great demeanor, a lot of toughness. A great body position guy. I’m watching him play defense, and I’m looking at some of the things being called on him … As I said, we’re well aware of what’s going on, and I thought Jo for the most part did a great job. He’s taking a lot of hits. He keeps battling. That’s what I expect from him. Had a tough call – a big offensive rebound – that went against him. He’s making great effort to get to the ball, making multiple efforts. That’s all you can ask of him.”