LeBron James defends flagrant foul: ‘I must be a kung-fu master’ (video)
The Miami Heat fell to the Indiana Pacers by a score of 84-83 in a thriller at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. The showdown between the two top teams in the Eastern Conference lived up to its billing, filled with dazzling plays, lots of intensity, an ejection and one wicked elbow from LeBron James to the face of Roy Hibbert.
With the Heat down 72-69 early in the fourth quarter, James drove hard into the paint from the top of the key only to be met at the basket by Hibbert. During James’ attempt to double-pump an attempt, his right elbow connected with Hibbert’s face, dropping the big man to the floor.
The Pacers center resembled a punch-drunk prizefighter after taking the shot, standing up briefly only to wobble and go back down to the court. Hibbert did leave the court briefly only to return later in the game.
James may have been feeling a bit surly before the drive to the hoop that resulted in a flagrant foul 1 as the Heat star was on the receiving end of two hard fouls of his own, both of which were whistled as a flagrant foul, but were downgraded to simply a personal foul after review.
James defended himself after the game, arguing that to intentionally deliver an elbow while attempting to finish a play would require the martial arts skills of a Bruce Lee.
“If I can jump up in the air and elbow someone in the face and finish a play, I must be a kung-fu master,” LeBron told the Sun-Sentinel.
When asked why he was whistled for a flagrant while the hard shots delivered on him were not and if the calls surprised him, James said that he was, but then refrained overly criticizing the officials while arguing that he and one other NBA star seem to take more of a pounding than other players, although the refs don’t seem to see it that way.
“Of course I’m surprised, but it is what it is. They ref the game and we play it.
“Me and Blake Griffin, we take some hard hits. They call it how they want to call it,” he said.
Ultimately, despite his attempts to be diplomatic after the game, being assessed the flagrant foul during the game could mean James could be suspended, meaning he would miss Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.