LeBron James was the aggressor on Wednesday night and that put him in the center of the action — and the controversy postgame.
At the heart of it was the flagrant foul LeBron earned for his fourth quarter drive that ended up with an elbow across the face of Roy Hibbert, a blow that sent the Pacers’ big man to the ground.
LeBron led with his elbow but said after the game wasn’t intentional, he wasn’t trying to elbow Hibbert. The direct quote is better than that, however.
You will not be a kung fu master until you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper.
The refs made a good call — if anything LeBron should see a fine from the league for this (and a flagrant 2 and a suspension is not out of the question).
It was a big collision and intentional or not LeBron led with his elbow and hit a defender in the face. That’s on him. Intent is not at the heart of this, it’s the result.
Hibbert took his time getting up (as he should) and was checked out by team doctors, took the free throws, then went back to the Pacers’ locker room (most likely for the league’s mandated concussion tests) but he returned the game. The Pacers went on to win 84-83. After the game Hibbert told reporters he didn’t remember the collision.
LeBron got the calls he did on the night because he was the aggressor — in the NBA if you attack you get the whistle more often than not. But after a night like this LeBron, you don’t get to complain about calls. If you want to complain about something, I’d look at your teammates and the support you got in this game.
Hat tip to Matt Moore of Eye On Basketball for the video.