Why Attacking LeBron James Is Terrible Playoff Strategy
When Charlotte’s Josh McRoberts hit LeBron James with a hard foul at the end of the second game of the series with Miami, it appeared to be a clear case for a flagrant-2 and ejection. However, referees called McRoberts for a common foul and left him in the game, which Miami proceeded to win 101-97. McRoberts was fined $20,000 by the NBA Friday for the non-basketball play, but the bigger harm may be the assurance Miami will win the series if James’s history of responding is any case study.
Whether it’s been mockery in the press, hard fouls on the court, or an accidental shot that breaks his nose, LeBron James has endured a great deal of abuse in the years following his departure from Cleveland. Critics say he invited the scrutiny with his handling of the Miami signing, but the action on the court isn’t open to as much interpretation. When McRoberts fouled James, there appeared to be no play on the ball. Previous attacks on the body or psyche of LeBron have turned out to be terrible strategy for opponents.
Before Lance Stephenson became a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player or got mentioned by the press for any reason, he was that guy that made the choke sign in Lebron James’ direction one fateful day in Indiana. The Pacers has been on a roll up to that moment in the 2012 Eastern Conference seminfinals. By blowing out the Heat on their home court, Indiana enjoyed a 2-1 series advantage. Yet Stephenson’s mocking gesture directed toward LeBron James unleashed a beast within the Miami star.