- Associated Press - Sunday, June 12, 2011

MIAMI (AP) - LeBron warming up. Is it too late?

He went up on the glass to stick back a rebound. Came around to catch the ball at the elbow and confidently drain a jumper.

And you can see he wants the ball, which is why he looked so frustrated after a poor decision by Mario Chalmers on the break. With James running with him but Mavs players back, Chalmers needed to either pull it out and set up the offense, or throw it up and see if James could go get it.

Instead he took a poor shot that was blocked, adding to the problem by committing a foul afterward and leaving the Heat down 94-87 with 5:32 to play.

LeBron wanted the ball. And for one of the rare fourth quarters in this series, the Heat needed to give it to him.

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The NBA will go to the video tape on that altercation in the second quarter.

Here’s the statement from the league:

“A player will not automatically be suspended for leaving the bench if he has already left the bench because a timeout was called. However, we need to review the circumstances of this particular incident, which we will do, after the game.”

The teams were in a timeout when they mixed it up, but no players were thrown out because time had been called, so players had already left the bench area, as they normally do.

I’ve always hated “leaving the bench” rule. It killed the Knicks in 1997 and the Suns in 2007. To me, there has to be a way to define intent, because not everyone who leaves the bench is looking for trouble. It’s the same one-game minimum penalty for throwing a punch as it is leaving the bench, and only one of them is always malicious.

The Heat’s Joel Anthony clearly came from the bench area, and it sure looked like it wasn’t in the name of peace.

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Well, we know what comes now.

Either LeBron James ends his fourth-quarter futility, or he’s going to have one of the most uncomfortable press conferences ever.

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