LeBron James Getting Too Much Assistance from Refs?

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IMay 29, 2009

CLEVELAND - MAY 28:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on between plays against the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 28, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Above: Yeah, he's a beast. But come on.)

It's debatable, at the very least.

I mean, let's be honest with ourselves. If you look back to that Western Conference Finals series between the Sacramento Kings and the L.A. Lakers, you'll see the same thing.

Just ask Hedo Turkoglu.

Just ask Dirk Nowitzki about how his Dallas Mavericks got a title stolen from them. Not by Dwayne Wade or a washed up Shaq—by phantom fouls, free trips to the free throw line, and the poor reffing.

But this isn't just poor reffing. No, not anymore. This is blatant disregard for the nature of the game.

It's gotten to the point where a player's style of play and his iconic status has been covered over what really matters: the game.

LeBron James, the pre-determined "King" before he even was able to drink alcohol, is a damn good basketball player. Okay, he's a great basketball player.

But no one is this good.

I can't find anywhere to prove it, but I know the truth when I see it. Show me a free throw breakdown, and I'll show you what I'm talking about.

While in game five, the Orlando Magic ended the contest with more attempted free throws. I'd be willing to bet (not money, of course) that the Cavaliers destroyed the Magic in the fourth quarter with chances at the charity stripe.

Let's just look at the numbers that are readily available.

In the past three games, James has attempted no less than 18 free throws, and has received countless and-one's from the refs.

Another interesting fact is that without these free throws, James would have been having arguably average games. In the past three games, minus his freebies, James would have recorded totals of 23, 30, and 22 points.

Good, but not great.

And yes, I know all the free throws can't be looked at as sketchy, which doesn't necessarily take anything away from James as a player—but it is definitely interesting.

With all these fouls flying around in James' favor, it's fairly interesting to note that he has approached more than three personal fouls just one time in the entire playoffs.

Because, why would the NBA (or anyone else) want the "great one" to be fouled out of a game? That wouldn't be good for PR. That wouldn't be good for ESPN.

That wouldn't be good for anybody.

The fact is, if you're watching these games, even if you're not an Orlando fan, you've been shocked and appalled by some of these calls.

More importantly, you've screamed out in hatred and disgust for some of the non-calls against James and other Cav's players, let alone calls that weren't called for the Magic.

It seems disturbingly consistent that Orlando is generally "allowed" to go to the free throw line, but not normally with the game on the line.

However, near the end of every game that is still in question, all you see is James on the line, finishing and-one calls, and staring evilly into the stands and at the cameras.

This isn't about LeBron James (even though it always is).

This is about the Dwayne Wades and Kobe Bryants getting calls that no one else would get. This is about the NBA marketing their players, and not their actual product.

It's about money, naturally, and an Orlando and Denver, or even Orlando and L.A. is not something the NBA wants.

Look at it how you will, but come game six (for both conferences), perhaps you will take a closer look at the game, and even more-so at the fourth quarter.

Because whether you're a skeptic or not, there's enough evidence there that you should be.


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