LeBron James has been officiated differently for the majority of his NBA career, and every once in a while, the Cleveland Cavaliers star sounds off on NBA officials.
Such was the case Sunday following the Cavs’ 110-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in which James went to the free throw line just four times in a 33-point effort.
Kings James called out the officials for preferential treatment to 3-point shooters as opposed to those who go into the paint after the loss.
“We’re at the point now where we protect the shooter more than the driver,” James said, via Cleveland.com. “I mean there’s no reason I should be going to the line four times in a game when I drive 100 times to the paint, I’m getting hit, slapped and grabbed and whatever, whatnot. But we protect the shooter. That’s what it’s turned into. You know, ‘Chicks dig the long ball,’ and that’s what it’s about.”
James has a point. Due to his strength and athleticism officials tend to, more often than not, swallow their whistle when he goes barrelling into the paint, leaving him to finish through contact rather than rely on the “touch fouls” a lot of perimeter players get in the NBA.
According to Second Spectrum, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James had 12 direct drives to the basket Sunday, none of which resulted in a foul call. McMenamin noted it was the 10th time this season that James’ number of direct drives eclipsed his free throw total by eight or more.
James’ frustration, though, likely is more directed at his team’s performance. The new-look Cavs are just 1-2 after the All-Star break, and the 33-year-old star was the only starter to score in double figures Sunday night, outscoring the other four starters 33-14.