Scoring 14 of his 29 points in the fourth, and tying a season-high with 14 assists, LeBron James led the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers to a 120-112 win Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors.
Things got testy between James and Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas in the third quarter, after the big fella yanked LeBron the floor by his neck.
The Cavs called the play dirty.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal:
“There’s a difference between a hard foul and a dirty play. Obviously that was a dirty play,” said Kendrick Perkins, the league’s resident savant on hard fouls. “We don’t have time for that type of s—.” […] “There’s a time and place you can get one off,” Perkins said when asked if it’s time to throw an elbow back at someone. “You just have to make sure it’s the right time. But at the end of the day you just try and go out there and play basketball. It’s a physical game and obviously (Valanciunas) was trying to send a message because he’d been getting beat out there in pick-and-rolls. But it’s just bull—-. It ain’t cool.”
Valanciunas denied intent, just as (James) Harden did on Sunday. “I wasn’t trying to hurt him,” Valanciunas said. “I was just trying to stop him from dunking the ball and I was protecting the rim and that’s it. I was just doing my job, protecting the rim, and it doesn’t matter how. I wasn’t trying to get anyone’s attention. An easy foul is not going to work on that player.”
“I don’t want to get too much involved in it because I don’t want to cry about it,” James said. “There’s a lot of plays that just aren’t basketball plays. But the referees take care of it and decide what it is or not, that’s what we’ve got rules for. I have to maintain my focus and understand how important the game is but at the same time protect myself as well.” […] “You have to understand the game is more important than trying to deliver a hard foul,” James said. “At that point we all know everyone is looking for the reaction. It’s the old elementary school house rule that the second guy always gets caught. So you just relax and play the game.”