As the Heat began building on what would be an insurmountable lead over the Knicks late in the second quarter, New York nearly lost star center Tyson Chandler for the rest of the game due to an ejection.. not that it would have mattered.
With the Heat up by 14 in the final minutes of the half, LeBron James played a one-man full-court press and guarded Iman Shumpert beyond half court. But the two-time MVP didn't see Chandler setting a screen behind him, a very hard screen. Chandler leaned in on the pick and hit James in the back, completely blindsiding him (After all, it's the playoffs). The referee called the obvious foul, but immediately called it a Flagrant 2 which also results in an automatic ejection.
The referees eventually reviewed it and downgraded the call to a Flagrant 1, but why was the official so quick to throw Chandler out? Perhaps James helped sell the call by flailing his arms and rolling on the ground a few times. Or maybe it just happened so fast for the official to be able to tell.
Either way, it led to yet another rant from Jeff Van Gundy, who at first went off on the refs for just ruling it a flagrant foul.
"They called that flagrant?" Van Gundy asked after his partner Mike Breen declared that it was clearly not a flagrant. "Oh come on. What kind of league are we becoming if that's a flagrant foul. That's not a shot. He's not expecting it to be screened. It's not because of what Chandler did that was so flagrant. You can't adjust to the reaction."
Once Van Gundy realized that they had called it a Flagrant-2, he was in disbelief.
"Oh my goodness. Pat Riley is rolling over in his seat right now if he thinks this is a flagrant foul. He saw harder hits in his practices in Miami than this," he said.
After the foul, LeBron went on to score nine straight points to close out the quarter and give the Heat a 54-31 lead at halftime. He finished with 32 points on 10-of-14 from the field, while Chandler barely played the rest of the game since the flagrant was his fourth personal foul.
But did James flop on the play (It's not like he hasn't flopped in the postseason before)? Watch the video above and make the call.
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