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Heat Win Steak Ends as Complaining Starts
Much like any Judd Apatow flick, no one knew exactly when the Miami Heat’s winning streak would come to an end. Since February 1 the Heat have not lost. Coming into Chicago to face the Bulls last Wednesday night, the Heat were on a 27 game streak and looking to surpass the 71-72 Lakers record of 33 straight wins.
Yet a depleted Chicago Bulls team made sure that didn’t happen. Without Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Rip Hamilton or Marco Belinelli, the short-handed Bulls beat the Heat 101-97.
The game was physical, showcasing Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s smash mouth defensive intensity for the whole 48 minute affair. What looked like an easy win on paper for the Heat coming into the game turned out to be anything but as Chicago refused to follow the routine of being a part of another Heat highlight reel.
Luol Deng woke up from his recent slumping slumber to put up 28 points and 7 rebounds while having to guard James, the greatest player in the NBA.
Carlos Boozer made himself available for the win with 21 points and 17 rebounds. With Rose out all season, Boozer has seen his stats increase to what everyone in Chicago hoped for when he was signed since he is getting more touches. When Rose gets back (whenever Rose gets back), expect those numbers to slip just in time for the Bulls to amnesty the former Duke player.
Jimmy Butler, who has proven that a multi-year contract in his future with his defensive mindset and explosive offensive abilities, gave everyone outside of Miami a highlight to cheer for when he dunked on Chris Bosh.
When it was all over, the Bulls prevailed and gave the ’71-72 Lakers a reason to rejoice knowing that their record will hold pat until the next season when the Heat will most likely make another run at it.
After the game, LeBron James voiced his displeasure over what he called two hard fouls during the contest. The first took place in the first quarter when Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich and James collided during a Heat fast break. Take a look at the footage to decide for yourself who took who down.
The second foul James took offense against was in the fourth quarter when Taj Gibson swiped across James’ neck and shoulders.
Regarding the fouls, James told reporters the following:
“Let me calculate my thoughts real fast before I say (what I want to say),” James said. “I believe and I know that a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays. First of all, Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. The last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not defensive … those are not basketball plays.”
There’s no denying James is the best player in the NBA and with Gibson’s foul upgraded to a flagrant, it is quite clear how powerful his voice is.
“I think he’s too good of a player to do that,” Gibson said on “The Carmen & Jurko Show” on ESPN 1000 referring to James’ complaints.
“You just play, two teams really going out there and play hard, going to the basket extremely hard and physical. I just tried to make a play on the ball, but I fouled him. When he fell, it looked like I collared him. I was really trying to grab him, just not hold him up. Nobody was intentionally trying to hurt anybody out there. When he said those comments, I was really shocked. But it’s part of the game, I guess.”
Gibson nailed it. It’s part of the game. From Magic to Jordan to Kobe, all the greats were not modest when it came to the complaint department. The stars run the show and LeBron’s complaints could read as a memo to the refs that reads “protect me, guys.”
James comments brought about a soundbite war between Boston President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Heat team president Pat Riley. Ainge called James’ criticism of the officiating “embarrassing” to which Riley responded in telling Ainge to “shut the f@#$ up”. Read more about their back and forth here.
It is a bit hard to feel bad for King James considering he is 6’8”, 250 lbs, the best player in the league and is tied at 6th for foul shots permitted per game (7.1) and sixth in fouls drawn per game (5.8).
Amidst all these vitriolic diatribes, maybe it is best for everyone from the stars and coaches to the GM’s and refs to just shut the f%$# up and let the players play.
Otherwise come the playoffs don’t be surprised to see a flagrant foul called on an opposing player just for breathing on James.
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