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CLEVELAND — LeBron James picked up four fouls in the first half of Game 4 in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals vs. the Celtics on Tuesday, including two close calls in the second quarter.
James, who scored 10 points in the half, was called for three fouls in the second quarter alone.
The first was an offensive foul in the lane with 11:26 left in the half. The next, a touch foul on a 3-point attempt by Marcus Smart, came with 8:55 remaining. James stayed in the game, and Boston’s Terry Rozier drew a charge from him at the 6:46 mark.
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This was the first time in James’ career he had been called for four fouls in a first half.
Last season, the seven teams from picks No. 2 through No. 8 finished with records within six games of each other. That’s not exactly a big difference. Given the Lakers’ wealth of young talent that could take a step forward (as well as what could be an eventual pursuit of Paul George), the team could easily move into a higher tier of bad team just with internal improvement and the decline of other teams. Then, 2019 is still far enough away that it’s tough to predict exactly where the Kings will be situated.
The team certainly doesn’t look like it’ll be a playoff team by then, but it could also get into a similarly higher tier of bad team and leave the Celtics with a return of something like the 2017 No. 3 pick and the 2019 No. 8 pick for Fultz. For me, a No. 8 pick two years out is not worth the difference between Fultz and, say, Josh Jackson on my board.