If someone could just build LeBron James a time machine allowing him to travel back to the rough-and-tumble 1980s, then all would be well in King James’ world. Alas, in the present-day NBA, LeBron knows all he can do is grit his teeth when opponents knock him to the ground. Per Fox Sports:
“If it was the ’80s, then I come up swinging,” James said Friday, “but it’s not the ’80s.
“I mean too much to our team and I can’t do that. Me being out of the game hurts us more than it’s going to hurt the other team. So I got to keep my composure. I get frustrated at times, but I understand how much I mean to this team and me being in the locker room ain’t helpful.”
James went to the floor briefly, struggling to catch his breath, after being hit in the neck by Charlotte forward Josh McRoberts with 50 seconds remaining in Miami’s 101-97 Eastern Conference first-round Game 2 victory on Wednesday night.
Ruled a common foul by officials at the time, the play was upgraded to a Flagrant 2 excessive contact penalty after the league reviewed the play Thursday. McRoberts, who said the hit to the throat was unintentional, was fined $20,000 but not suspended.
“I understand there’s going to contact on my drive, and if it’s the right call then I’m OK with it,” James said. “And if it’s not …
“What frustrates me is when I go home and watch other games … last night I watched the Golden State-(Los Angeles) Clippers late game and there were three flagrant fouls called that got checked. My foul didn’t even get checked, and it was a crucial point of the game.”
“It feels like we’ve been down this road four or five times already this year,” Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said after Friday’s practice. “We just want there to be a better vigilance, awareness of those plays. LeBron is an attack player. He should not be penalized for his aggressiveness, the size and speed of his drives at the rim.
“We’re all fortunate that that play could have been nuch worse. And it’s not the first time it happens.”
“Whether we agree or disagree with the league or not, we’re acknowledging that it’s not an easy play to make,” Spoelstra said. “We’re not going into this game looking for retribution. There’s not going to be a retaliation, but there is going to be more attacks.”