IT seems LeBron James has had enough of the supposed not-so-special treatment he's been getting from the referees, as he showed his frustration on the court early on in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 100-92 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
With 2:09 left in the first quarter, James earned his second technical foul of the season after he shouted at referee Tyler Ford as he was upset over a non-call on Utah's Shelvin Mack when he drove to the basket.
Sources told ESPN that some Cavs players heard Mack being instructed by Utah coach Quin Snyder to foul James to prevent him from scoring in transition. Despite what he felt was already obvious physical contact, James was furious for not getting the calls, particularly on that play.
"Yeah, I got fouled," said James, who confirmed he has long been frustrated with the refs turning a blind eye to all the contact he's been taking this season.
"It is [frustrating], it is. It is. But I know what the main thing is - the main thing is to win -\- but it is. It is. It is," he added.
According to sources, James feels officials are not calling fouls on his defenders enough and as a result takes punishment in the paint, where he gets most of his points as he is 10th in the NBA when it comes to free throw attempts per game. Against Utah, James was sent to the foul line seven times, his average for the season.
The same sources said James feels All-NBA level players who rely more on the jump shot get rewarded more by the referees with more free throws, citing that officials treat him differently on purpose.
After the Tuesday loss, James absorbed several cuts on his hands and arms that required treatment by Cavs trainer Mike Mancias.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue believes it might be James’ size working against him when it comes to the calls, comparing his star forward to former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal.
"He's so strong and so physical, when he goes to the basket, guys are bouncing off of him," Lue said. "Those are still fouls, but he doesn't get that call because he's so big and so strong and so physical."
"We used to tease Shaq all the time about soft fouls. He said: 'Listen, if I pinch you, it feels the same way when you pinch me. No matter how big I am, it feels the same.' I never thought about it like that. That's kind of how LeBron feels," the Cavs coach added.