The referees were terrible throughout game 5. It's hard to officiate a game with LeBron James in it because there is always going to be contact. But why does LeBron feel it's necessary to overreact to every time he gets touched? Because it works. He gets calls. This has always bothered me, and the sports media (especially in D.C.) are fed up. Some of the best came from Chick Hernandez of Comcast Sportsnet. I am paraphrasing since I can't find the written quote.
After the incident with Darius Songaila, LeBron grabbed his face and then a minute later forgot where he got hit. He was holding his chin and then his throat. A couple times we've seen LeBron get fouled on the arm and check his mouth for blood. Give me a break.
In other instances LeBron flailed his arms into the air like a puppet on strings. Haywood was covering him one on one and LeBron drove, got touched, his arms flew into the air---no call. LeBron took one more dribble into Haywood, this time with more contact; his arms flew higher into the air---a stare at the ref, and a foul.
The preferential treatment to LeBron is bothersome. Forget the fouls, how about the fists? TNT made such a huge deal out of the Songaila finger slap (anyone watching on Comcast had a different perspective), but somehow when LeBron throws an elbow into Andray Blatche's face (after the whistle) it goes unnoticed. We all saw it:
It also should be pointed out that the best blow delivered in the series so far was the one James administered to Andray Blatche in Game 1. It was a James-inspired forearm to Blatche's jaw that the three referees apparently missed, just as they miss the hop, skip and jump that James sometimes employs on his way to the basket. -Tom Knott, The Washington TimesLeBron was fined for this, but not until the day before game 5. The league actually assessed a flagrant one foul on LeBron, but 10 days after it happened. What's the point? And why did it take so long for James, when DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood were fined the morning after the game? DeShawn, on top of the flagrant fine, had to give up $25,000 for a "throat-slashing" gesture. Does anyone remember that LeBron James did the EXACT SAME THING in last years' series? Was he fined one penny? No. Apparently, LeBron's treatment trickles down to his teammates as well:
The NBA described it as a "menacing gesture." Fair enough. Except just last month Damon Jones made a three-pointer late in a Wiz win over the Cavs, which he followed up with the "I can't feel my face" gesture and then, yup, a throat slash. Was he fined? If so, I see no mention of it. -Dan Steinberg, WashingtonPost.com
Don't forget that if it weren't for the referees in the last Cavs regular season game, the Wizards could be the home team in this series. Quick-witted Caron Butler didn't forget after game 5:
...when I saw the ball that he shot rolling on the rim, I thought, 'This is our season right here.' Then everyone started jumping around and celebrating, but I didn't celebrate yet because of what happened in the [April 14 Cleveland-Philadelphia] game. I thought they might have blown a whistle and wanted to review it.
Does anyone remember this? LeBron even has favoritism over Kobe? It's not surprising. The NBA and Nike try to paint LeBron as this humble, clean, superstar. What a joke.
Take this as the most recent example of LeBron James' two faces. Immediately after game 5, LeBron was asked if he thought he was fouled on the last shot. His response, "yes." As if we needed to hear from him to know what he thought. After he saw the shot fall off the rim, his head was on a swivel back and forth to each referee. Who could blame him. Usually, when he complains it works. He should have asked them to check it on the monitor and bring the teams back out. But after the game in his official media address, LeBron says that no, it wasn't a foul. He gave the politically correct "there was some contact but they made the right decision in not calling a foul" answer. And let me say that what is cut in the highlights you'll see now is that the question asked if he had a chance to see the last play on video. He said no. So don't argue that he saw the play again and realized he was wrong.
Perpetual LeBron ass-kissers TNT and ESPN agree with the politically correct version of James. Both Kenny Smith and Charles Barkely said that it wasn't a foul. Brian Windhorst, who might as well be the president of the LeBron James fan club, had this to say in his post-game writeup:
as [LeBron] tried to make his own winning play, his layup not finding the same friendly response as Butler's. But there was no whistle and there shouldn't have been one. -ESPN.comActually, the worst non-call of the night by far was when LeBron hacked Caron on the way to the basket. Not the game-winner that Caron put in his eye, but on the same "turnover" that led to Delonte West's three point play. If Devin Brown was covering Butler, I think there would have been a call. Unless the aforementioned trickle down theory is true.
Will LeBron stop acting? Will he stop complaining? Not until he stops getting calls for it. Let's hope the Wizards get some of the same treatment when they will be at home for game 6. The media has caught on and soon enough, the refs will see through LeBron's charade.
Caron Butler was Caron James. He was the real King. -Skip Bayless, ESPN