LeBron James Ejected For First Time Ever In Cavs’ Win Vs. Heat [VIDEO]
LeBron James has another first to add to his career, though it is not a positive one.
LeBron James ejection news
James — who was playing in his 1,082nd career game — was tossed with 1:59 left in the third and Cleveland holding a comfortable 93-70 lead. After obtaining a steal, the 15th-year forward dribbled upcourt and missed a layup then argued with referee Kane Fitzgerald that Heat forward James Johnson fouled him on the attempt. Fitzgerald gave James a technical foul and threw him out of the game.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 29, 2017
“I got fouled all the way up the court, from the time that I stripped him, all the way until I got to the rim,” James — a 13-time NBA All-Star who will be 33 next month — said of the sequence leading up to his ejection, which came against his former team. “I said what I had to say and then I moved on, but he decided I should get [ejected]. It is what it is. We got the win, and that’s what’s most important.”
Fitzgerald explained the reasoning behind his decision to a pool reporter after the game.
“It was a culmination of a couple different acts,” Fitzgerald said. “Immediately after the no-call, he turned and threw an air punch directly at me, and then he aggressively charged at me, and then he used vulgarity in my ear a few times.”
Regarding whether anything occurred between him and James before his ejection, Fitzgerald said, “Nothing at all, nothing that I’m aware of.”
At the time of the ejection, James had 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting, 12 rebounds and six assists, but had attempted just one free throw.
“I think I’m one of the league leaders in points in the paint. I drive just as much as anybody. At this point, it’s almost like they’re trying to turn me into a jump shooter,” James said of how he has been officiated this season. “I can’t be a jump shooter.”
James entered Tuesday with 176 (paint) shots within 3 feet of the basket, behind only Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averages three free throw attempts more per game than James.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue did not protest Fitzgerald’s call to eject James.
“Yup,” Lue said. “Should have got thrown out. Yup. … I really don’t know what he said. He got kicked out. Want me to go against the ref? No, he got thrown out. He’s out.”
Dwyane Wade said he was shocked to see James sparring with the official so much.
“I mean, I just thought it was quick,” Wade said. “I mean, a player like him, you give him the benefit of the doubt. He says something, you give him a tech, kind of walk away and let him calm down. That’s it. That’s all I got on that.”
New York Knicks center Enes Kanter — who fought with James earlier this month after the latter called himself “the King of New York” — may fuel James’ anger even more after this tweet he posted about the ejection:
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) November 29, 2017
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the only active players who have played more games than James without being ejected are the San Antonio Spurs‘ Tony Parker (1,144) and Pau Gasol (1,139).
The Cavs (14-7, 3rd in Eastern Conference) now have nine straight wins. They next visit the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 28: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers argues after being ejected in the second half by referee Kane Fitzgerald #5 while playing the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena on November 28, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 108-97. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)