CHICAGO — LeBron James’ frustration — almost a full season’s worth — spilled out.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Miami Heat trailing the Chicago Bulls and the Heat’s 27-game winning streak about to expire, James delivered an overly physical foul — leading with his forearm — on Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.
James wasn’t angry that the Heat were about to lose for the first time since Feb. 1. He was unhappy with the way the referees officiated the game, unhappy with the way the Bulls were able to be so physical — in James’ view — and get away with it.
After the Bulls ended the Heat’s winning streak — the second longest in NBA history and six wins shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins in a row — James sat in his cubicle, his feet in a bucket of ice with the 101-97 box score resting atop it, and vented about the pounding he has taken this season.
“It’s been happening all year, and I’ve been able to keep my cool and try to tell Spo (Heat coach Erik Spoelstra), ‘Let’s not worry about it,’ ” James said. “But it is getting to me a little bit. Every time I try to defend myself, I’ve got to face the consequences of a flagrant or a technical foul or whatever the case may be.
“It’s tough. It’s very tough.”