Miami Heat v Boston Celtics

LeBron joins long list of big men complaining about lack of foul calls


LeBron James is one of the NBA’s strongest men — if you’re going to foul him and not give up the and-1, you better make it a good one. And even if you do foul him, no call may be made as he just powers through you.

James joined a long, storied list of the NBA’s best — from Dwight Howard this season, back to Shaq years before and dating back to George Mikan at least — of men saying the referees treat them differently because of that physical strength, reports our own Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.

“Sometimes it’s unfair because of how strong I am,” James said. “I can take punishment of course, but at the same time, I just feel like it’s unfair sometimes.

The spark was a foul by Mo Evans that got James around the neck in an attempt to stop a layup. Evans was not making an intentionally dirty play, but James wanted a flagrant foul.

“I don’t know if Mo Evans’ intention was to be dirty,” James said. “I watch a lot of basketball. I see a lot of basketball every day. Every time someone gets grabbed around the neck, it’s an automatic flagrant foul. If I’m wrong, tell me I’m wrong. But it seems like every time I get hit hard or a hard foul, and all I get is two shots and they take the ball out.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has his star’s back.

“He absorbs a lot more contact than people realize,” Spoelstra said. “He’s big and tough enough that he shrugs it off. But you go in there and see him in the locker room, and he’s got ice on pretty much every part of his body.”

James is right about this. After the season he and Dwight Howard can sit around and have a beer and complain about it. Shaq can join in (he took more physical abuse at his peak than either of those two). And then the guys from the 1980s can come in and laugh at all of them.

Hate to tell you this LeBron, but it’s part of the price for being one of the big strong guys. It hasn’t changed for decades, it’s not changing now.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.