YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NBA Coast to Coast

LeBron James finds it rough going

He likens opponents' physical play against him to what Shaquille O'Neal used to experience.

March 30, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Miami Heat forward LeBron James is fouled by Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James is fouled by Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson. (Tannen Maury / EPA )

Let's get physical

LeBron James was pushed and pulled, prodded and shoved.

And then there was what happened to him on the court against the Chicago Bulls.

The Miami star who spoke out about several hard fouls during the Heat's streak-stopping loss to the Bulls on Wednesday may have received a harder smackdown on the airwaves afterward.

Said Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics president of basketball operations: "I think that it's almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating."

Said Bulls forward Taj Gibson: "I think he's too good of a player to do that."

James had prompted those comments by saying that Gibson's grabbing him around his shoulder and forcing him to the ground and another play in which Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich nearly tackled him were "not basketball plays."

James took out part of his frustration by throwing his body into Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, earning a flagrant 1 foul.

Two days later, James likened his dilemma to that faced by former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal.

"As a kid," James said, "I used to watch a lot of Lakers games and I used to see Shaq get hammered and he would get two free throws and then he would finally deliver a blow and it would be a technical foul, it would be a flagrant foul. I've seen it. I've seen it before.

"We're not ones to complain, but I just brought it to light."

A bidirectional Rocket

Royce White returned to Houston, though not to play for the Rockets.

The rookie forward promptly doubled back to his Development League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Not that he intends to play for them in the postseason.

Confused? You're not the only one.

White labeled his short-lived return to Houston a "miscommunication" on Twitter, and there seems to be some debate as to whether the player who has not made his NBA debut because of issues related to an anxiety disorder will participate in the D-League playoffs.

White tweeted that he would leave the Vipers at the end of the regular season, citing a "hectic" playoff schedule.

But Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said during a radio interview that no decision about the postseason had been reached.

Call it April Anarchy

The Heat versus the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs?

That would be one possible scenario under Denver Coach George Karl's proposed playoff format in which all 16 postseason teams are no longer bound by conference affiliation.

Instead, teams would be seeded from one to 16, with the team with the best record playing the one with the worst record and so on. Karl told reporters he would also reseed the teams after each round similar to the NHL's playoffs, raising the possibility of a Finals matchup between teams from the same conference.

"I think it would get fans excited, man. It would be crazy," Karl said. "And we travel with private jets now, so I think you can schedule it to where you'd get two days of rest between games. I think it would be really fun and interesting to see the matchups."

—Ben Bolch

Los Angeles Times Articles