The lack of a technical foul call on LeBron James for hanging on the rim against the Golden State Warriors loomed large on Christmas Day, in a game ultimately decided by one point.
The NBA agreed, citing LeBron’s post-dunk celebration as a missed call in the Last Two Minute report following the Cavaliers’ win on Sunday. Yet when asked about the play Wednesday, LeBron claimed that the initial no-call was the right decision from the officials because the play was already over.
“First of all, me hanging on the rim had nothing to do with the play,” James said, disagreeing with the technical assessment. “It was a timeout and a foul. I could be hanging on the rim all the way until the game is being played and it doesn’t matter. So why would it be a technical at that point? I get it if I dunked the ball [and] play was still in session and nobody was up underneath me. Then I get that. But it was a timeout plus a foul.”
LeBron’s technically correct; in the past, we’ve seen players such as Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace hang on the rim during a dead ball, especially at halftime. However, the officials still could (and probably should) have called him for a technical for his emphatic reaction while holding onto the iron.
LeBron also defended what the NBA claimed was a missed foul call against Richard Jefferson on the Warriors’ final possession:
“And to say that it should’ve been a foul on RJ, there was hands on bodies the whole game. It’s a physical game, that’s what the fans wanted to see, it’s the referees that called a great game throughout the game. There were some calls here that could’ve gone a different way but there were calls that they made that were great calls, too. But I’m not a fan of the last two minute rule of putting it out to people that usually don’t watch the game until the fourth quarter anyways.”
All in all, LeBron isn’t a fan of the Last Two Minute report. He’s voiced his concerns multiple times dating back to last season, and he doubled down on those comments Wednesday.
“I think it discredits what the referees are doing for 48 minutes. If that’s the case, you might as well do a 48-minute report.
“It’s not fair to the referees that you only talk about the final two minutes of the game and not the first 46. There’s plays that’s missed, there’s plays that called throughout 48 minutes that don’t get talked about.”
And LeBron isn’t alone in those sentiments. On Tuesday, Warriors forward Kevin Durant ripped the Last Two Minute report and defended NBA officials in a profanity-laced rant, despite Golden State being the victim of several missed calls against Cleveland on Christmas Day.
As for the officials? They agree with LeBron and KD: