The NBA has fined Charlotte Bobcats power forward Josh McRoberts $20,000 and upgraded his Wednesday common foul on Miami’s LeBron James to a Flagrant 2 after reviewing the play Thursday.
Flagrant 2 is the more serious of the two penalties. Had that been assessed at the time of the foul, McRoberts would have been ejected with 50 seconds left. Also, the Heat would have retained possession in addition to James’ two free throws. The Heat ended up winning 101-97.
The NBA chose not to suspend McRoberts from Saturday’s Game 3 of the Bobcats-Miami Heat series.
McRoberts’ right forearm and elbow made contact with James’ neck on the play, breaking up James’ drive to the rim. James hit the floor and took several seconds to stand up, later saying he was “catching my breath” after the collision.
A statement from the NBA on Thursday described McRoberts’ action as “unnecessary and excessive contact.”
Under NBA playoff rules, if McRoberts were to commit another Flagrant 2 or two Flagrant 1s the rest of this postseason, he would be suspended for a game.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expressed surprise post-game Wednesday that McRoberts was not immediately called for a flagrant. Asked if he got any explanation from the referees, Spoelstra replied, “Nothing that seemed rational.”
The Bobcats took Thursday off from practice. McRoberts spoke about the foul Wednesday night, saying he believed it “looked worse than it was.”
“We just kind of got caught up in the air there,” McRoberts said. “I have to see it, but for me (in) real time, he was coming pretty fast down the lane. He’s a real strong guy and I was trying to stop him from first getting the shot up.”
James said little when asked about the play, other than he didn’t need to see a replay.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell