The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James beat the Toronto Raptors by 31 points in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but they dropped some hints showing some displeasure with the officiating.
James may have been cruising, like the rest of his team, in these playoffs and against the Raptors, but in the postgame interviews, he mentioned a few times that he has no idea what it’ll take for referees to call some flagrant fouls.
He was referring to, probably, four incidents in the game:
- Bismack Biyombo hitting James on the back of the head with an elbow when the two were battling for a rebound
- DeMarre Carroll wrapping up James from behind to prevent him scoring, holding him back by the shoulders, which the officials called as a common foul
- Another elbow from Biyombo to James’ face, but James was called for an offensive foul, previously in the play making contact with DeMar DeRozan’s face
- Biyombo again, this time fouling Tristan Thompson. The Cavs big man was airborne, trying to score a layup, while Biyombo fouled him in a way that made him land awkwardly on the ground. This was also ruled a common foul
I thought Tristan’s throwdown last night was a little excessive, but he went up there and made two free throws and that’s all that matters. I’ve pretty much chalked it up to common fouls[being called with me getting hit. I have no idea what it is [Flagrant Foul]. I know what it is when it happens to someone else, but I don’t know when it involves me. I have no idea what a common foul and flagrant foul is.
The Cavaliers mentioned these things during their first round series with the Detroit Pistons, with Tyronn Lue comparing James to Shaquille O’Neal, referring to how inconsistently and unfairly he’s been treated by referees. Kevin Love was actually the only player in game 1 called for a flagrant foul, when his elbow caught Patrick Patterson in the face.
The Raptors were called for five more fouls than the Cavaliers, and both DeRozan and Kyle Lowry failed to get to the line, something that has never happened to them as teammates.