Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals was a weird one for LeBron James. He was constantly in foul trouble and never manged to get into an offensive rhythm. In fact, it was the first time in his career he has been in this much foul trouble — he has never before been called for five fouls in just 13 minutes of playing time.
Considering the fact that this is the playoffs and the intensity and physicality naturally goes up a notch, the referees could certainly have overreacted on a couple of their foul calls. Even so, LeBron did not blame the officiating for Miami Heat’s loss and his own struggles, via ESPN:
“The game is reffed by the refs. They ref how they see it. We play it, and you live with the results,” James said. “We were still in a position to win.”
Despite being held to just seven points, in huge part due to coming in and out of the game with his fouls. He did try to make game-changing plays, but ultimately couldn’t help his team out enough to close out the series and head to his fourth consecutive NBA finals.
Still, it’s admirable that James took the high ground, not putting the blame on the referees. We saw a similar incident earlier in Game 4, after which Indiana Pacers’ superstar Paul George claimed that his team outplayed Miami and simply lost because of the officiating.
Whether it was because even with this loss the Heat are 3-2 in the series or if James just understands the ups and downs of the game, he certainly reacted in a more professional manner than George.