The Miami Heat’s historic win streak is over at 27 games, the second-longest all-time. On Wednesday night, superstar LeBron James and his teammates faced the Chicago Bulls and were out-hustled and out-muscled en route to a 101-97 loss.
Obviously, James was unhappy. However, it was not the result of the game that made him so upset, per se, but rather how it was called. In the first quarter, James found himself on a fast break with only one man to beat, but instead of skying up for a signature dunk, Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich wrapped him up with both hands as the two went to the ground together.
Hinrich was called for a foul, but that’s it. His actions were not deemed serious enough to elicit a flagrant foul from the refs, and that fact is what really irked Mr. James, as he explained after the game.
“I knew it was going to be a physical game,” said James, according to USA Today. Overall, James actually put together a great individual performance, as he finished with a game-high 32 points, seven rebounds and three assists while taking 11 free throws. “Every game against the Bulls is a physical game.”
“First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter just grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground,” James said.
Here’s the foul James talks about. Should Hinrich have been called for a flagrant, intentional foul on the play?
Later, when the game was still very much in doubt, Bulls forward Taj Gibson rose up along with Bron Bron, wrapped his arm around Bron’s shoulder and brought him down to the ground. Once again, James believes his opposition deserved to be called for a flagrant.
“The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground,” James said.
Of both fouls, James said, “Those are not basketball plays.”
Finally, late in the fourth quarter, with the game and the Heat’s winning streak both about to expire, James cocked his elbow and laid into Carlos Boozer, who was setting a screen to spring open Hinrich.
The refs stopped the game, took the time to review it, and what did they call on LeBron?
A flagrant 1.
“It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell Spo (Heat coach Erik Spoelstra), ‘Let’s not worry about it,’ ” James said. “But it is getting to me a little bit. Every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical foul or whatever the case may be.
“It’s tough. It’s very tough.”