Is Charlotte Bobcats power forward Josh McRoberts going to hear from the NBA about his foul at the rim on Miami Heat superstar LeBron James?
McRoberts made a hard foul on James with 50 seconds left in Wednesday’s game, a 101-97 Heat victory. Replay indicated his elbow collided with James’ throat. James hit the floor hard and took several seconds to “catch his breath” – his words – before taking two free throws.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear he thought that should have been a flagrant foul. Asked if he got an explanation from referees why it wasn’t, Spoelstra said, “Nothing that seemed rational.”
McRoberts said the foul “looked worse than it was.”
“We just kind of got caught up in the air there,” he said. “I have to see it, but for me (in) real time, he was coming pretty fast down the lane. He’s a real strong guy and I was trying to stop him from first getting the shot up.”
James said little when asked about the play, other than he didn’t need to see a replay.
The NBA office has the authority after the fact to upgrade McRoberts’ foul or otherwise assess a punishment if it’s ruled more excessive than a common foul.
That came to fruition when Zeller took all the minutes normally portioned to backup center Bismack Biyombo.
This was Biyombo’s first “did not play – coach’s decision” since mid-January. No Bobcats reserve played more than 16 minutes.
“As soon as we subbed, our defense went down and our turnovers went up,” Clifford said of his decision to play every starter at least 31 minutes.
“He’ll text me sometimes just with things that he sees. He knows our team,” Clifford said before the game.
“I appreciate how he treats me – he gives me suggestions, but he always says, ‘You’re the coach; do what you think.’ ”
That’s very similar to how Jordan interacted with Clifford’s predecessor, Mike Dunlap. Jordan and the front office would offer feedback, but Dunlap was never dictated to, in terms of his player rotation.
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