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 out on 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, which caused a scuffle between the groups, 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 more significant issue than the scuffle was whether James tumbled on the play.
James’ and Paul’s arms did get tangled, but who started the contact? Also, the 6-9 James is nine inches taller than Paul and outweighs him by 75 pounds (250 to 175), so how, precisely, did James fly that far after the contact?
These were the exact questions Twitter users discussed after the play as “LeFlop” started to the pattern.
Some James protectors explained a different sentiment about James’ injury than when Paul briefly left the court in the video 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 considering that 2010 and kept the Lakers at arm’s length for most of the second half.
Most importantly, both James and Paul were able to remain on the floor regardless of their injuries, which need to bode well for them ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2.