LeBron James of the Miami Heat flops on video against the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. Posted by Ben Golliver.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat did it again on Thursday night, closing out the Chicago Bulls in five games to win the Eastern Conference finals. The Heat went on an 18-3 run to close the game and James was sensational, scoring eight points in the final 2:06 of the fourth quarter and locking up Derrick Rose so bad that he could barely get off a shot attempt.
James was sensational, but only after he embarrassed himself first.
With the Bulls leading 57-44, James pulled down a defensive rebound in traffic. Rose crashed in from the perimeter to take an upward swipe at the ball as James brought it down to the ground and James' body went flying backwards, as if Rose had hit him in the face. James grabbed at his face as if he had been poked in the eye and went down on one knee to collect himself as a foul was called on Rose. Rose stomped away from the play, frustrated at the whistle, and replays would clearly reveal why he was upset.
The reverse angle clearly showed that Rose's swipe did not contact the ball or James' head whatsoever. The upwards swipe had been completely unsuccessful: Rose has simply grasped at air. James' reaction, then, was totally staged, a simulation of contact that had never occurred.
To make matters worse, James' flop was accentuated by a smile and wink to the bench, a purposeful acknowledgement that he had duped the officials.
Here's video of James' flop courtesy of YouTube user BSORobertLittal11.
Flopping and simulating fouls has certainly become a trend in these NBA playoffs. Give James credit: Whatever he does on the basketball court, he does it better than just about everyone else. Unless retroactive fines and imposed in these situations, players with James' basketball intelligence and experience will no doubt be able to fool referees in real time, especially when the plays occur in congested areas of the court.
Still, this was a shame. It certainly doesn't take away from the magnitude of James and Miami making the Finals, but this type of action shouldn't have a place in the NBA game.