After a 100-92 point loss to the Utah Jazz Lebron James came out and intimidated he was frustrated with the officiating. A reporter saw Lebron was not pleased and posed him the question is it frustrating to not get calls. Lebron James responded short with media simply stating “It is, It is”.
James and Tyler Ford disagreed on a call that James felt was a foul by Shelvin Mack. When Lebron came down a second time he got a foul call and screamed out at Tyler Ford where was the foul before. Ford quickly gave Lebron James a technical for his outburst.
Over the years Lebron James and Coach Tyronn Lue have made claims LBJ is getting hosed by the referees on foul calls. Lebron believes he should be going to the line much more than he already is at this point in his career. James feels he has been in the league long enough to know when he is fouled.
During the Utah game Lebron James went to the free throw line 7 times, nailing 6 out 7.
Referees Out To Get Lebron James?
Lebron James went to the free throw line during the Utah Jazz game second most only behind Kyrie Irving who had 8 attempts. James is ranked 10th for free throw attempts per game. Lebron James is getting a healthy dose of free throw attempts. James career average for free throws per game is 8 per game. Lebron is only averaging one free throw less this season from his career average.
Lebron is overreacting which is normal after a loss. We looked into King James free throw makes per game. James is ranked 19th for free throws made per game. Lebron is shooting 69.3 % from the free throw line this season. This is below his career average of 74.2%. The scenario serves to show that Lebron may feel like he is getting less attempts when in reality he is making less free throws.
King Finishes Strong or Not?
Diving deeper into the issue Lebron’s finishing ability has diminished a tiny bit. Last year in the non restricted area Lebron was shooting 40 % in the lane on layups, dunks and floaters. James shot 42.3 percent in the lane the year before last. This year James is shooting 36% in the non-restricted area. Referees see that Lebron is not finishing like he did previously. Refs are not willing to bail him out with a whistle.
Teams have picked up on some of these struggles and have gotten bold. Last year on layups Lebron James attempts at the rim for layups were contested 7% of the time. James layup attempts this year have been contested 21% of the time . Defenders are going straight up and trying to contest the King. The normal calls Lebron would get he is no longer being afforded because of some of his blown finishes.
Lebron may feel he is not getting calls, but the numbers show that he is. The referees are simply not officiating him like they did in the past. Teams are not moving out of the freight trains way like they used to do so as well. James is heightening the senses of officials to get to the line more. All apart of his master plan priming things for the playoffs.