The NBA has sided with LeBron James and upgraded Taj Gibson’s foul, the one where he appeared to grab James by the neck, to a Flagrant-1 foul instead of a personal foul.
The act itself happened in the first quarter and Gibson can clearly be seen going for the ball, although he did come in contact with James’ neck and head. By rule, such contact is considered flagrant and is supposed to be called as such.
“I really didn’t care. It’s in the past and I can’t do nothing about that,” Gibson told CSN Chicago after Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. “We really didn’t do anything different. We just played them the way we normally play them. Every time we play them, it’s like a playoff game. We don’t shy away from anything. Every time we play them, they adjust, we adjust. It’s all about who wants it more.”
The reversal itself makes you raise your eyebrows somewhat at the NBA.
In the Bulls' loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, Vince Carter fouled Jimmy Butler on a baseline drive to the basket and made contact with his head and neck area, yet only a shooting foul was called and Carlos Boozer’s demonstrative reenactment was ignored. It can be argued that not calling a flagrant on Carter -- which would've given Chicago two free throws plus the ball -- cost the Bulls the game almost as much as Jimmy Butler's missed free throws and Dirk Nowitzki's game-winning three-pointer.
Or remember in last year’s playoffs versus the Philadelphia 76ers? Omer Asik was clearly grabbed around his neck by Spencer Hawes, but again, only a two-shot foul was called, which of course led to the now infamous missed free throws and the Bulls' unceremonious first-round exit.
Said Tom Thibodeau on the Gibson foul upgrade, “I guess we have to call the league and get clarification.”
Perhaps there’s only one clarification, Tom: It’s good to be the “King.”
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