LeBron James is keeping his eye on the latest NBA action as the LA Lakers face a long and uncertain summer. The four-time MVP was monitoring his home team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing host to Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.
The action got a little tense with about 30 seconds left in the second quarter when Hawks center Clint Capela bit on Cavs’ rookie Evan Mobley’s fake. The fake sent Capela flying across Mobley’s back, giving the young pivot man an opportunity for an uncontested dunk. Instead of letting go of the play, Capela held Mobley’s shoulders and pulled the Cavs rookie with him.
Amazingly enough, the hold was judged to be a common foul instead of the more obvious flagrant. The decision earned the ire of Cleveland fans, including LeBron James, who promptly tweeted:
“See that’s why we get so angry out there sometimes. Like What is and What is not a FLAGRANT??? Cause that clearly was ONE.”
The original ruling was a personal foul before officials reviewed the play. Chants of “flagrant foul” reverberated inside the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse as the play was reviewed. To the incredulous disappointment of the Cavs fans, the decision to call it a common foul stood.
“After review, although the contact by Capela is ruled illegal, it does not rise to the level of flagrant foul as there is no pull down from the neck. Common foul stands.”
Former head coach Mark Jackson, who called the game for ESPN and ABC with Mike Breen, was in disbelief at the referees.
“This is an easy call. What do you mean no pull down from the neck? I mean that’s the wrong decision!.. Unfortunately, Capela got hurt, but that’s clearly a flagrant foul.”
Like most who were watching the game, LeBron James was irked that no flagrant foul was slapped on the Hawks’ center.
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to look for a playoff spot without LeBron James
In the last 24 years, the Cleveland Cavaliers have never made it to the postseason without LeBron James in the lineup. The last time the Cavs made it to the playoffs without “The Chosen One” was in the 1997-98 season when James was playing high school ball.
In the mid-2000s, Cleveland was a perennial playoff presence with the emerging skills of LeBron James starting to dominate the NBA. The wine and gold would then miss the postseason in the next four years as the four-time MVP took his talents to South Beach.
Cleveland’s Prodigal Son returned in the 2014-15 season where he dragged the Cavaliers to four straight championship battles against the dynastic Golden State Warriors. After LeBron James bolted for Hollywood, the Cavaliers were back to being a lottery team before this season.
Despite the stinging loss, Cleveland’s future has never been as bright since the kid from Akron, Ohio held court at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.