There has been plenty of talk about the officiating leading up to Game 5 between the Heat and the Pacers. This will be the last word on it in terms of the fallout from Game 4, where LeBron James was whistled for a sixth foul in the closing seconds that resulted in his disqualification.
The league has reviewed the play, which clearly shows Lance Stephenson tripping over LeBron’s foot as he tries to fight through a screen.
James said he didn’t agree with the call, and Stan Van Gundy similarly said it shouldn’t have been enough to warrant a whistle that would send the Heat’s best player to the bench for good with six personal fouls.
The league came down on it differently, however, and confirmed that the correct call was made.
In the scrutiny over the flopping and officiating in Game 4, the NBA said nothing publicly about the sixth foul on James because the league — specifically executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson and his staff — think it was the right call.
Jackson’s staff reviewed the play several times and zeroed in on video which shows James sticking out his foot, stepping on Stephenson’s foot, tripping Stephenson and impeding his ability to defend. Regardless of intent, the league thinks the right call was made.
James was done talking about it, and told reporters as much before Thursday night’s matchup. We’re done with it now, too — until a whole new set of questionable calls presents itself in Game 5.