James Earns Benefit of Officials Whistle?
If you saw the call late in Game 3, you know what I’m talking about. Unless you’re a Heat fan, and then never mind. For everyone else, you saw Thunder guard James Harden harassing (LeBron) James on the perimeter, pressuring the ball loose and then staying uncomfortably close as James regained control. As Harden hovered nearby, James lurched into him once, then twice. The second time, Harden went to the floor.
Flop? Probably, yeah. But when the official blew his whistle, it wasn’t a 50-50 call because there were three options, two of them favoring the Thunder: One, no call at all. Two, a charge on James. Three, blocking on Harden. The referee went with No. 3, and the game was basically over. The three-time MVP was given two free throws with 16.2 seconds left, needing to hit just one to put the game essentially out of reach. James hit one.
Also déjà vu — because James received a similarly generous whistle in the previous game. You saw that call, too, so you know exactly what I’m talking about. Unless you’re a Heat fan, in which case you’ll want to ignore LeBron’s left forearm on (Kevin) Durant’s upper body as Durant goes up for a 10-footer with 11 seconds left and the Thunder needing two points to tie the game.
No whistle. The shot missed, James rebounded and was fouled, and he went to the line with the chance to make it a two-possession game in the final seconds. That was Game 2. But it was also Game 3.