Things got chippy between the Cavaliers and Raptors during Cleveland’s 115-84 romp in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
As Toronto fell further and further behind, Bismack Biyombo and DeMarre Carroll showed their frustration with hard fouls on LeBron James and Tristan Thompson.
While no flagrant fouls were called against the Raptors, Kevin Love was called for a flagrant after elbowing Patrick Patterson in the face.
Hard fouls against Cleveland have become something of a theme during the ’16 playoffs as both the Pistons and Hawks tried to slow down the Cavs with physicality. After practice today, LeBron talked about teams trying to slow him down with hard fouls and pondered what the difference between a common foul and a flagrant foul is.
“I have no idea what it is,” James said after practice on Tuesday. “I know what it is when it happens to someone else, but I don’t know when it involves me. I have no idea what a common foul and flagrant foul is.”
There were at least three plays in question in Game 1 that James could have been referring to.
In the first half, James caught an elbow from Bismack Biyombo to the back of his head while they were both fighting for a rebound.
In the second half, DeMarre Carroll wrapped up James around the shoulder area while stopping him from scoring on a fast break and a common foul was called. Later in the third quarter, James took another hit from Biyombo to his face, but it was James who was whistled for an offensive foul because the referees determined he made contact with DeRozan’s face before Biyombo hit him.
Biyombo was also involved in a play where he fouled an airborne Tristan Thompson while the Cavs forward was going up for a layup, causing Thompson to fall to the floor. It was only determined to be a common foul against Biyombo.
“I thought Tristan’s throwdown last night was a little excessive, but he went up there and made two free throws and that’s all that matters,” James said. “I’ve pretty much chalked it up to common fouls [being called] with me [getting hit].”
Carroll had a slightly different take when asked to weigh in on James’ comments that he gets fewer flagrant fouls called against him than his opponents do.
“Maybe because we don’t act … maybe,” Carroll said. “Acting is a little part of it. Maybe we don’t act. Think about that!”