Miami Heat's James reacts after a call during their NBA basketball game against Chicago Bulls in Chicago

LeBron picks up a flagrant foul after lowering the shoulder on a Caros Boozer screen (VIDEO)


As an isolated incident, this play where LeBron James decided to intentionally drop his shoulder and plow into a screen-setting Carlos Boozer doesn’t have much meaning.

But given the point of the game when this occurred, and the fact that James was the one initiating the contact, it spoke volumes.

With under four minutes remaining and the Heat’s 27-game winning streak on the verge of being snapped, James delivered a hit on Boozer as he attempted to go through a screen, and was whistled for a flagrant foul.

The flagrant call was excessive, but it could be argued that the officials were simply trying to maintain control of a contentious game, one that the Bulls were leading by eight points at the time. The fact that James was hit hard by Taj Gibson on the previous possession may have factored into the officials’ view of the play, as well.

But regardless of how you view the play and the call from the officials, what was clear was how James became uncharacteristically unhinged at such a crucial point in the game.

LeBron’s stoic demeanor (save for some celebration when things have gone just right) has been a rock the Heat could rely on during that massive 27-game winning streak, and the fact that he let his emotions get the better of him, even just slightly, was a sign that the Bulls were on their way to accomplishing what no one had been able to in the last 56 days.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.