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NBA: LeBron James & Paul George unhappy with lack of foul calls

Yash Matange
547   //    27 Feb 2018, 15:52 IST

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul George and LeBron James

What's the story?

Two All-Stars, LeBron James and Paul George, over the past two days have complained about the lack of foul calls on the part of the referees.

In case you didn't know

The conflict between players and referees has been quite public this season. Even the meeting between the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) and NBRA (National Basketball Referees Association) at the All-Star Weekend, to reduce the tension, was much talked about across outlets.

Heart of the matter

The conflict earlier in the season was on a different topic altogether - the rise in the number of technicals and ejections during the regular season. However, the past few days, James and George had other issues, something that's quite a common complaint and not something restricted to this season.

"We're at a point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver," James said after the team's 110-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. "There's no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game when I drive 100 times to the paint and I'm getting hit and slapped and grabbed and whatever and whatnot. We protect the shooter. That's what it's turned into. 'Chicks dig the long ball,' and that's what it's about."

Whether James is objective in his complaint can't be determined but there is some truth to his statement. This season, he is averaging only 6.0 free-throw attempts, the lowest since his rookie year.

On the following day, George took offense to the calls his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates - Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony - received.

"It's tough. We're so aggressive; we play at the rim constantly," George said. "We're just officiated differently, all three of us. And it's tough. At least one of us [should] get the benefit of the doubt. But when we're on that floor no one is getting the better side of that whistle. But we're going to keep attacking, we're going to keep being aggressive. That's our job, to put pressure on them. At some point it's gotta work out for us."

The Thunder beat the Orlando Magic comfortably on Monday night. OKC's Big 3 are all seeing significant drop-offs on their attempts from the free-throw line with Melo's numbers seeing the biggest drop.

Playing earlier in New York, 2-time MVP Stephen Curry was asked about LeBron's comment - "Chicks dig the long ball". Here's what he had to say:


“I only got one free throw tonight, so no,” he said.

What's next?

There's no doubting the attention James commands but there's been no update or announcement from the league office so far.

Author's Take

Unless it's impacting the result of the game in the closing minutes, I think the players need to come to terms with the fact that this current group of referees is slightly inexperienced as compared to the crew up until last year. More importantly, be patient.

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Yash Matange
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