Tag: Jonas Valanciunas

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns

David Blatt calls trend of hard fouls against LeBron ‘worrisome’


LeBron James has been victimized by a series of hard fouls recently, and predictably, his head coach would like that to stop.

James Harden was suspended a game for kicking LeBron in the groin, and Jonas Valanciunas was called for a flagrant for taking LeBron to the floor two games later.

There were no such antics during Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, but Cavaliers coach David Blatt said that the trend of teams being overly-physical was troublesome nonetheless.

From Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com:

“I just think LeBron is getting hit, and getting hit every time he goes to the basket, and half of them are ignored,” he said. “Because of the strength and the power he brings to his drives, it’s easy to overlook a lot of stuff.”

James was belted again tonight going to the basket by DeMarre Carroll, but I didn’t think it was dirty or flagrant. It was just a good, hard foul. Carroll even made a play on the ball. But when it comes on the heels of the Jonas Valanciunas takedown and the James Harden kick, all of these events are coming a little too close together.

“It does seem to be a trend,” Blatt said. “That’s going to happen now and again, but when it’s happening continually that’s worrisome. And it should be worrisome for everybody. Because there’s ways to defend guys and ways to defend guys physically, but there’s a limit and that limit needs to be recognized.”

Carroll committed two fouls against LeBron in this one, but upon further review, neither could be classified as being hard or crossing the line. One was a simple contest as James drove to the basket (likely the play in question), and the other was a reach after LeBron used a spin move to get loose. It’s possible, however, that one of these appeared to be more violent in person.

Regardless of how you view Carroll’s fouls, though, this isn’t something that’s going to change. LeBron is one of the best players in the world, and teams aren’t just going to let him get to the basket without putting a body on him to make his shot attempts as difficult as possible.

Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.


LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers did not like the hard foul Jonas Valanciunas gave the Cleveland star the other night. After being the target of a couple flagrant fouls recently, LeBron said he needs to stick up for himself more.

Kendrick Perkins is willing to do it for him.

Which feels a little odd considering the rivalry Perkins’ former team the Celtics had with LeBron over the years, but Perkins is now a Cavalier. Perkins told Cleveland.com he would play enforcer, that essentially he would be the Marty McSorley for Wayne Gretzky (that’s not a perfect analogy, but live with it).

“(There are) time and places that you could get one off,” said Kendrick Perkins, the Cavs’ newly acquired backup center who is a card-carrying, on-court enforcer. “You’ve got to make sure it’s the right time. At the end of the day you have to make sure you go out and play basketball.

“Obviously (Valanciunas) was trying to send a message because he had been getting beat all day on the pick-and-roll, and it happens, but it’s just bull(crap) and it ain’t cool.”

Like the league is not going to be watching now.

You can tell the playoffs are approaching because play is starting to get a little chippy around the league. Games have something on the line a lot of nights now and that leads to more intense — and often physical — play. And that makes Perkins feel right at home, regardless of the color of his uniform.

(Hat tip to the legendary Matt Moore Eye on Basketball)


LeBron James after receiving two flagrant fouls in his last three games: ‘Maybe I got to protect myself a little bit more’


LeBron James was kicked in the groin by James Harden on Sunday, and then was grabbed around the neck and brought to the floor by Jonas Valanciunas two games later.

Somewhat predictably, he’s growing tired of the excessively physical plays being made against him.

LeBron has long talked about how non-basketball plays were the ones he’s had the most disdain for, and that once again was a familiar refrain after the win over the Raptors. But he also mentioned something else, which hinted at something that could resemble retaliation.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:

After being the recipient of a second flagrant foul in his past three games,Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said he might have to take matters into his own hands in the future.

“Maybe I got to protect myself a little bit more, too,” James said after the Cavs’ 120-112 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. …

“I don’t want to get too much involved in it because I don’t want to cry about it because it’s not like I’m not able to get back up, but it’s a lot of plays that are just not basketball plays. …But the referees, they take care of it. They decide what [type of foul] it is or not. That’s what we got rules for. And for me, I need to maintain my focus and understand how important the game is, but at the same time, protect myself as well.”

It isn’t on James to do something to fight back that could get him ejected or suspended; for his opponents, that would be the best outcome possible.

But his teammates could certainly step in and issue a well-timed hard foul in these situations, just to send an important message that James will in fact be protected out there on a consistent basis.

Jonas Valanciunas puts LeBron James on ground, LeBron does not like it (VIDEO)


Jonas Valanciunas earned a Flagrant 1 for that foul, which is about right. That’s not a basketball play, that’s putting a guy to the floor. I don’t think Valanciunas meant anything by it — if you’re going to foul LeBron James you better foul hard or he’ll go right through you for the and-1 — and that’s why he tried to help LeBron up.

But LeBron was having none of it.

From the Raptors’ perspective, I’ll take that foul. Toronto struggled to contain Cleveland’s offense all night so a little intimidation in the paint is something I could live with if I’m coach Dwane Casey. And Valanciunas put up big numbers — 26 points and 11 rebounds.

If I’m Cleveland, I’ll just take the win, thank you very much. Cleveland, Toronto, and Chicago are all in a virtual tie for the two, three and four seeds now in the East. Wins like this show why Cleveland will finish the two seed.

2015 NBA All-Star starters announced, Kyle Lowry overtakes Dwyane Wade in the East

Kyle Lowry

The last All-Star voting returns were released two weeks ago, and it appeared as though the starters were essentially locked into place.

The closest races in both the frontcourt and guard spots in either conference were right around 100,000 votes apart, which would mean a huge surge in fan support would be needed to have one player overtake someone who already maintained a substantial lead in the race.

The Raptors fan base, in support of Kyle Lowry, came through to get their guy in, while ousting Dwyane Wade at the same time.


G- John Wall

G- Kyle Lowry

F- LeBron James

F- Pau Gasol

F- Carmelo Anthony


G- Kobe Bryant

G- Stephen Curry

F- Anthony Davis

F- Blake Griffin

F- Marc Gasol

For the most part, the fans got it right.

Kobe Bryant was a legacy selection, but his torn rotator cuff now throws his availability for the midseason exhibition into question. If he can’t go, that opens up a spot for someone more deserving to get in as an injury replacement — like Klay Thompson, for example, who may have been hard-pressed to make it otherwise.

The reserves will be extremely interesting, especially in the West. While it’ll be interesting to see if Wade now ends up getting in from the East, with Bryant and possibly LaMarcus Aldridge being sidelined due to injury, that’ll open the door for other deserving players to end up getting one of the remaining spots.

The final voting tally was as follows:

Eastern Conference


1. LeBron James (Cle) 1,470,483

2. Pau Gasol (Chi) 974,177

3. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 647,005

4. Marcin Gortat (Was) 570,005

5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 542,006

6. Kevin Love (Cle) 386,208

7. Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 231,741

8. Joakim Noah (Chi) 203,718

9. Nikola Vucevic (Orl) 129,293

10. Paul Millsap (Atl) 121,938

11. Al Horford (Atl) 114,955

12. Al Jefferson (Cha) 110,980

13. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 106,820

14. Nikola Mirotic (Chi) 103,645

15. Andre Drummond (Det) 86,717


1. John Wall (Was) 886,368

2. Kyle Lowry (Tor) 805,290

3. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 789,839

4. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 535,873

5. Jimmy Butler (Chi) 455,756

6. Derrick Rose (Chi) 379,994

7. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 159,123

8. Jeff Teague (Atl) 83,900

9. Lou Williams (Tor) 82,135

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 55,014

Western Conference


1. Anthony Davis (NO) 1,369,911

2. Marc Gasol (Mem) 795,121

3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 700,615

4. Tim Duncan (SA) 546,817

5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 545,226

6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 498,131

7. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 465,334

8. Dwight Howard (Hou) 348,275

9. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 292,557

10. Rudy Gay (Sac) 144,702

11. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 132,150

12. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 117,816

13. Serge Ibaka (OKC) 107,223

14. Draymond Green (GS) 99,039

15. Tyson Chandler (Dal) 98,654


1. Stephen Curry (GS) 1,513,324

2. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,152,402

3. James Harden (Hou) 1,069,368

4. Chris Paul (LAC) 551,167

5. Damian Lillard (Por) 365,417

6. Klay Thompson (GS) 314,254

7. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 248,758

8. Rajon Rondo (Dal) 219,506

9. Jeremy Lin (LAL) 216,246

10. Mike Conley (Mem) 103,015