LeBron James doesn’t care to hear about any flopping nonsense as he and his teammates gear up for their Game 4 showdown against the Chicago Bulls.
As for any sort of flop, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s wallet is $35,000 lighter these days after openly criticizing officials following his team’s Game 3 playoff loss at the hands of James’ Miami Heat.
What was he complaining about? Look no further than the photo to the right. At first, superstar LeBron James reacted to a hard foul from big man Nazr Mohammed with a elbow that sent Mohammed to the ground. He was awarded a technical foul for the elbow, and as he stared at the ref in disbelief, Mohammed stood up and shoved James with both hands to the ground.
For his efforts, Mohammed was ejected, thinning out an already razor-thin Bulls bench, and after the game Thibodeau went off on the play in question.
“When you play this team, you have to have a lot of mental, physical and emotional toughness. Things aren’t going to go your way. That’s the way it is. We’re not going to get calls. That’s reality. We still have to find a way to get it done, and we can.”
James does not believe any calls are going his way that don’t deserve to go his way, however.
In fact, the way he sees things, this is a non-issue.
“It’s kind of the same (as when) I heard people say I was overrated,” he said Sunday, according to USA Today. “It’s kind of like the same response.”
When asked directly about whether or not the 6-foot-8, 260-pound James flopped, the four-time MVP gave a far more blunt answer.
“I don’t need to flop,” James said. “I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys.”
Some, including Thibodeau, don’t believe that to be the case, obviously. Further, some believe his early criticisms of the refs during the regular season have led to some favorable calls for LeBron and Co.; the Bulls home victory in late March snapped the Heat’s historic 27-game win streak and James was not happy about several calls that went against him.
“What I said is what I said, but I don’t want to get involved too much with what everybody else says about us, about me,” he said. “It’s nothing I haven’t heard before in my career. It’s nothing. … I’m here to play basketball and do whatever it takes for our team to win. So what a coach and players say to me and about me, I don’t really care.”
His Heat are schedule to take on the Bulls in Game 4 of their hostile, physical series on Monday night.