LeBron fouls out, doesn’t agree with calls

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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.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”