May 10, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) is congratulated for making a three point shot by small forward LeBron James (6) during the second half in game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Miami won 104-94. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Did LeBron Flop in Game 3?

First of all, unless you’ve been stuck in a hole in the ground, you’ve probably seen Nazr Mohammed shove LeBron James.

And if you actually believe LeBron flopped — this is especially for you — I’m about to show you hard, conclusive proof that he didn’t.

LeBron (stupidly) shoved Nazr Mohammed after Mohammed (smartly) fouled LeBron on a semi-fast break.  Joey Crawford calls the Mohammed foul, then sees LeBron throw down Mohammed, and quickly calls a technical foul on LeBron.

LeBron does his “I-can’t-believe-you-called-a-block/charge/technical/anything-on-me-for-that” face at Joey Crawford.  Notice the reaction of the Heat and Bulls players — nobody thinks it is an excessively hard foul, and everybody recognizes (even, I bet, LeBron himself) that LeBron deserved to get T’d up for that shove.

LeBron continues to plead his innocence and looks toward the Heat bench and Erik Spoelstra for some support.  You can already see Nazr Mohammed getting ready to shove LeBron.  Mohammed probably made his mind up about what he was going to do while he was on the floor.

I obviously couldn’t catch every single split-second that occurred, but what ends up happening next is that LeBron looks back at Joey Crawford and while LeBron is non-verbally exchanging pleasantries with Joey Crawford, LeBron gets shoved by Nazr Mohammed.

This shows just how much force Nazr Mohammed put into his shove.  Mohammed has both arms extended, has stepped into the shove and has his full weight behind the shove, and remember, Nazr Mohammed had already generated additional momentum as he was getting up.

In my eyes, this is where it’s clear that LeBron is not flopping.  He’s clearly off-balance, and has his arm extended to brace for impact.  This is also the moment where haters think he’s flopping.

“LeBron’s 6′ 8” and 250 lbs…you can’t shove somebody that big!”

Yes you can, if your name is Nazr Mohammed, you’re 6′ 10” and you also weigh 250 lbs.

Clearly, these people have never been unexpectedly shoved (remember, LeBron was looking at Joey Crawford when the shove occurred). When you’re not expecting to be shoved, it doesn’t take much physical contact to make you lose your balance and fall, especially when the person shoving you is freakin’ 6′ 10” and weighs 250 lbs.  It’s not like Nazr Mohammed is Justin Bieber, folks.

LeBron was shoved at around the 3-point line.  He ended up in the paint.  This was not a love-tap. (Also, love Spoelstra sprinting out onto the floor to protect his players/dissipate the melee).

According to the NBA, flopping is defined

as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.

LeBron doesn’t embellish the fall.  He doesn’t flail his arms around or writhe around in pain — because he doesn’t have to.  Sure, there are times when LeBron does flop — pretty much every NBA superstar does — but this is not one of those times.

Jae Bradley covers the Miami Heat for You can follow him @jaebradley.  

Tags: Chicago Bulls Lebron James Miami Heat Nazr Mohammed NBA NBA Playoffs Shove

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