LeBron James did whatever he could to keep the Lakers close in their playoff opener against the Suns.
That included theatrics that some would classify as Oscar-worthy.
After a missed free throw in the fourth quarter, James went flying through the air when he got tangled up with Phoenix’s Chris Paul on the rebound. James took a hard-looking fall after Paul’s foul, and that led to a scuffle between the teams and four technical fouls: one on the Lakers’ Alex Caruso, one on LA’s Montrezl Harrell and two on the Suns’ Cameron Payne, who was ejected.
The bigger issue than the scuffle was whether James flopped on the play.
James’ and Paul’s arms did get tangled, but who initiated the contact? Also, the 6-9 James is nine inches taller than Paul and outweighs him by 75 pounds (250 to 175), so how, exactly, did James fly that far after the contact?
These were the exact questions Twitter users were debating after the play as “LeFlop” began to trend.
Some James defenders pointed out that there was a different sentiment about James’ injury compared to when Paul briefly left the court earlier in the game with a shoulder problem.
Flop or not, James’ play didn’t matter in the end. The Suns emerged with a 99-90 win in their first playoff game since 2010 and kept the Lakers at arm’s length for most of the second half.
Most importantly, both James and Paul were able to stay on the floor despite their injuries, and that should bode well for them ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2.
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