Heat's LeBron James reacts after fouling out against the Pacers during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series in Indianapolis

LeBron fouls out, doesn’t agree with calls


LeBron James just doesn’t foul out.

It has happened twice since he joined the Heat, five times in his entire NBA career (the last one against the Celtics last playoffs). In the middle of this season he went through a six-game stretch where he wasn’t called for one foul.

But with :56 seconds left in Game 4 Tuesday night, LeBron was called for a moving screen on Lance Stephenson. That was No. 6. Much to the delight of the vocal Indiana crowd LeBron went to the bench. It’s not likely his presence would have changed the outcome of this game, but without him and a clearly slowed Dwyane Wade running the show it was pretty much a lock the Pacers would win.

On a night where the one universal cry was that the officials were missing things both ways, you can add LeBron to the group. He didn’t think four of the fouls he got called for deserved a whistle, particularly the last one.

“I was going to set a screen and I felt like I was stationary — and D Wade rejected the pick and roll,” LeBron said in his televised postgame press conference. “Lance actually ran into me….

“I believe I was straight up and down on Paul George’s drive, on the and-1. They reversed a call with (Roy) Hibbert, called a foul on me on that one. And at the end of the third they called a push off on David West

“It was a couple of calls that I didn’t feel like were fouls, personal fouls on me. That’s how the game goes sometimes.”

I will grant LeBron that the last call was a bad one. As he said, Wade went away from the pick, when that happens you can’t really set a moving screen because there is no screen being used. That was a no-call at any point in the game.

But all night long the game was called tightly and not everyone adjusted. I’d like to see the referees let the guys play a little at this point, but it was what hit was. Also, the referees missed calls both ways — there was a terrible 24-second clock violation on the Pacers at one point.

Miami didn’t lose this game because of the refs — they multiple chances to put this game away, but all night they struggled to stop the Pacers offense, and in the key final minutes they had no answer for Roy Hibbert. The Heat lost this game because of a slow start, and because the Pacers are good, and because the vaunted Heat defense couldn’t get the job done. It wasn’t the refs.

But I wouldn’t bet on LeBron fouling out next game.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott
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Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.