America: Was This A Flagrant Foul On Tyson Chandler, Or A LeBron James Flop?

  • Eric Goldschein

In the midst of a scorching second quarter for the Heat, Tyson Chandler set a hard screen on LeBron James near mid-court. The King’s back was to Chandler, and the shoulder-throwing pick sent LeBron flying to the floor. There was some whiplash involved, which is why LeBron acted like he had been shot in the neck. But was this a flagrant foul, as it was charged to Chandler? A regular foul? A flop of epic proportions?

This was one of two questionable flops by LeBron in the second period — a 12 minute span that saw the Heat explode for 30 points while holding the Knicks to 13. But this call was the most controversial, and showcased either terrible pain or incredible acting skills on the part of James:

Jeff Van Gundy had a typical Jeff Van Gundy response to this, which was to be outraged and question the very fabric of space-time itself. And though Chandler did lean into the pick, surprise played a much bigger role in sending James to the ground than actual physicality.

The same can not be said for an earlier foul call that also went LeBron’s way. He and J.R. Smith were battling for a loose ball near the sideline, when LeBron set the flopping standard that he would break just minutes later:

Perhaps these are ridiculous flops. Perhaps LeBron is just playing smart playoff basketball. Either way, it seems to be working — he has 23 at halftime, which is also the number of points that the Heat are up with just 24 minutes to go.

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