LeBron James was none too pleased about the officiating during Sunday’s 110-94 loss, which he made clear after the game.
James, who gets a lot of his points via driving to the basket, was upset about a number of non-calls in the game. The Cavs star shared his thoughts about the officiating when the contest was in the books, and he criticized the league’s referees for having a bias toward jumpshooters, as it relates to fouls being called.
“We’re at a point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “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.”
For reference, the free-throw disparity in Sunday’s game was quite large, as the Cavs only went to the line 14 times, with the Spurs getting 32 attempts. As for James, he was 3-for-4 at the line, and only getting four attempts is extremely low for him.
Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue shared his thoughts about why James doesn’t get as many calls as other players, and also likened him to former NBA center Shaquille O’Neal in that regard.
“He’s the Shaq of guards and forwards,” Lue said. “He’s so strong and so physical, when he goes to the basket, guys are bouncing off of him. Those are still fouls, but he doesn’t get that call because he’s so big and so strong and so physical.”
James does raise a good point, as jumpshooters such as James Harden (who does also drive the lane at times) and Kevin Durant seem to get more calls than players who get the majority of their points in the paint such as he and Russell Westbrook. Still, it’s unlikely that the way games are called will change anytime soon, so James may be forced to adjust his style as a result.