LeBron Kept Getting Away With Breaking This Rule While Getting His Ass Beat

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

LeBron James had easily his worst game of the 2018 playoffs in the Cavaliers‘ first matchup with the Celtics.

The four-time MVP scored just 15 points and 16 shooting attempts, turning the ball over seven times.

And you could argue he should have had five of those points struck from the record.

Continuing a trend from throughout the playoffs, LeBron committed a lane violation on every one of his six free throws in a 108-83 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Rule 9, Section 1-b of the NBA’s rule book: “The free throw shooter may not step over the plane of the free throw line until the ball touches the basket ring, backboard or the free throw ends.”

In other words, you can’t do what LeBron is doing every single time he shoots a free throw.

Of course, Celtics fans aren’t allowed to complain, considering Isaiah Thomas spent his tenure in Boston committing this violation even more egregiously.

When the issue was raised last year, former official Steve Javie, now an analyst with ESPN, explained why refs don’t call this flavor of lane violation: “It’s one of these rules where as an official you’re thinking, what advantage did the guy really gain from it? He shoots it from behind the line and his foot steps into the lane. Well, to me, he didn’t gain an advantage. But if he shoots the ball and then runs and grabs the rebound, it’s an obvious advantage.”

Totally get that.

But LeBron was whistled for doing it in his Cavaliers’ sweep of the Raptors.

Wait, could it be that NBA refs *gulp* are wildly inconsistent and make calls on whims?