November 28th is a day that will live on in sports history. Not only because it was the day the Giants announced that Eli Manning’s starting streak would end, but because LeBron’s ejection streak ended.
Eli won’t be starting an NFL game for the first time since 2004 and last night, LeBron was ejected from an NBA for the first time since…ever.
The Cavs were blowing out the Heat, LeBron was in the middle of double-double, so let’s skip to 1:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Let the record books show that it was Kane Fitzgerald who administered LeBron’s first ejection. And it was pretty shocking, because it’s not like he flew into a rage. Or made contact with an official. Other than giving off a “you know who the hell I am” vibe, he really didn’t seem to do much of anything at all. Except there’s a tee. There’s another. And now he’s gone. Thanks for coming. The first ejection ever, and it happened in the middle of a 23 point blowout. Weird. Really weird.
As always though, there are two sides to every story. LeBron’s side is that after he got a steal, he went up the court, and was fouled as he missed a layup: “I got fouled all the way up the court, from the time that I stripped him, all the way until I got to the rim. I said what I had to say and then I moved on, but he decided I should get [ejected]. It is what it is. We got the win, and that’s what’s most important.”
And LeBron does have a point. While he took 11 shots in the paint last night, he only went to the line once, and that was thirty seconds into the game. And there’s no way you can tell me that on the other 10 shots in the paint nobody in a Heat jersey made contact with him. That just isn’t possible. And he is averaging a career-low free throws, despite doing the bulk of his work in the lane. So I get his frustration.
As for the ref, Fitzgerald’s story is: “It was a culmination of a couple different acts. Immediately after the no-call, he turned and threw an air punch directly at me, and then he aggressively charged at me, and then he used vulgarity in my ear a few times.”
So it’s a case of he-said, he-said, no…wait, it’s not. Because there’s a third man in. And that third man is…ENES KANTER.
No, the Knicks had absolutely nothing to do with last night’s Cavs-Heat game, but that didn’t stop Kanter from sprinting into the cage and getting in on this fight. He jumped on twitter with a pic of LeBron and the ref, with the ref circled, and the caption: King of Cleveland #hisfavoriteplayground #striveforgreatness
Classic Kanter. That’s a guy who’s just itching for a reason to go, in person or online. And he did, dropping a strong callback to LeBron’s Instagram post after Cleveland’s comeback win at the Garden a few weeks back.
LeBron’s reaction to Kanter’s tweet, a shrug and remark that Kanter’s “always looking for attention.”
And LeBron is smart enough to know not to give to him. He’s not getting hooked by a guy who is not threat to him and means nothing to him, no matter how funny the cat is. And that’s part of the problem. Kanter’s going to have to start winning some of these matchups on the court or else LeBron can keep shrugging them off. This can’t be a good rivalry until the Knicks are actually in the same league as the Cavs. And then it’ll be great.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the hustle from Kanter to get online with that blast as quickly as possible, I just hate the fact that they aren’t going to face each other on the court until April 8th. That’s terrible. I need them playing tomorrow night. And the night after. And the night after that. And if they can’t, then I need Kanter to be tweeting and chirping LeBron nonstop until April. And I’m guessing he will.