LeBron James is having a hard time with hard fouls. The Heat forward is not complaining about opponents getting physical, he just wishes the referees would notice.
Instead, James and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra see it as a case of officials swallowing their whistles when it comes to flagrant-foul calls because of James' muscled physique.
"Sometimes it's unfair because of how strong I am," said James, with the Heat winning 111-92 Friday night in Minnesota, with James feeling like he was undercut on a second-quarter alley-oop bid. "I can take punishment of course, but at the same time, I just feel like it's unfair sometimes."
All James said he is asking for is equal treatment.
"I watch a lot of basketball. I see a lot of basketball every day," he said. "Every time someone gets grabbed around the neck, it's an automatic flagrant foul. If I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong. But it seems like every time I get hit hard or a hard foul, and all I get is two shots and they take the ball out."
Spoelstra said one look at James after the game illustrates these are no ordinary fouls.
"He absorbs a lot more contact than people realize," said Spoelstra, whose team next plays Sunday in New Jersey. "He's big and tough enough that he shrugs it off. But you go in there and see him in the locker room, and he's got ice on pretty much every part of his body."
Teammates cringe at what James has to endure.
"He's a big, physical, strong guy," forward Chris Bosh said. "Guys feel like they have to put a little extra into it to stop him from getting to the basket, to stop him from scoring sometimes."
Guard Dwyane Wade said the toughest part of the equation is not arguing to the point of a technical foul.
"You understand and accept you're going to get fouled," Wade said. "But sometimes, it's a little much. If we react a certain way, we'll get a technical foul. If we react too much, we won't be playing. That's tough."
HEAT 111, TIMBERWOLVES 92: Down one at halftime, the Heat seized control with a 25-1 run to start the third quarter, holding Minnesota to 0-for-15 shooting to start the second half. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 32 points, supported by 27 from LeBron James and 24 from Chris Bosh.
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