Chris Paul pulled a questionable maneuver on Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, locking down an armbar while battling for a rebound in the winding minutes of the first half. The Houston Rockets guard took no prisoners, even if James is part of the long-known Banana Boat crew, and he was whistled for a loose ball foul on a play that could have ended much worse than it did.
Paul can be seen clearly tangled up with The King and following through by holding onto James' arm and yanking it behind him, a dangerous play that could have resulted in a hyperextension or a shoulder dislocation:
Chris Paul's armbar on LeBron pic.twitter.com/yuQxPyofkP
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) February 22, 2019
This is no strange news given Paul's history of flirting with the bad whistle, but doing so against one of his best-regarded friends in the league was borderline unreal to witness, especially with implications on the line for both teams.
James recently missed a bunch of time with a groin injury and is kicking things into playoff mode, while Paul recently came back from a hamstring injury. Both players are fully aware of the consequences of missing time when trying to secure a playoff spot.
Paul's play was ill-advised, as color analyst Chris Webber described during the broadcast: “Little guys just jump up, grab, and yank down hoping they got the ball. It’s all they can do.”
Yet Paul skated with a common foul from this situation, one that could have been potentially reviewed and resulted in his ejection if a Flagrant 2 was called upon a second look.