Video: Did LeBron James Deserve Ejection From Cavaliers Against Heat?

In a 15-year professional playing career in the NBA, LeBron James had never been ejected from a game.

That changed on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, in game 1,082 of James’s professional career. With the Cavaliers leading the Heat 93-70, James missed a layup over Heat forward James Johnson. He argued with referee Kane Fitzgerald, who assessed him a technical foul and chucked him from the game.

It didn’t matter, at least in terms of the result. James was tossed with one minute and 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter; the Cavaliers still won 108-97 to pull within 3.5 games of the Celtics for the Eastern Conference lead. Despite his truncated game, James still managed 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, five steals and a block in 28 minutes of play.

"I got fouled all the way up the court, from the time that I stripped him [Johnson], all the way until I got to the rim," James said of the ejection in quotes reported by ESPN. "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."

Fitzgerald claimed James had thrown an “air punch” and used “vulgarity” against him as reasons for tossing the future Hall of Famer from the game. "It was a culmination of a couple different acts," Fitzgerald told ESPN pool reporter Dave McMenamin, as reported by the league office. "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."

James had a broader complaint after the game about how he is being officiated this season. "I think I'm one of the league leaders in points in the paint,” James told Cleveland.com. “I drive just as much as anybody. At this point, it's almost like they're trying to turn me into a jump shooter. I can't be a jump shooter.” James attempted only one free throw against the Heat.

Dwyane Wade, James’s teammate during their days with the Heat and now playing a key role from the bench for the Cavaliers, said Fitzgerald should have given James the “benefit of the doubt.”

There was one person, though, who agreed unequivocally with the official. "Yup. Should have got thrown out. Yup," Tyronn Lue told Cleveland.com when asked about the decision. Was Fitzgerald right? Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

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