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Home » Lakers Fuming Over Missed Call Resulting in Loss to Celtics

Lakers Fuming Over Missed Call Resulting in Loss to Celtics

29 January 2023, Sunday
The chief referee in the Los Angeles Lakers' 125-121 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday accepted there was an uncalled shooting foul on Jayson Tatum that would have put LeBron James at the free throw line in the last seconds of regulation, leaving the Lakers exasperated with another defeat connected to the officiating.

The Lakers had a great opportunity to upend the top-of-the-league Celtics when James drove towards the rim, the score tied with 4.0 seconds left. James managed to get all the way to the hoop when Tatum smacked his arm as he was attempting a left-handed layup, the ball bouncing off the rim before the buzzer.

Right after, James made a beeline for the official stationed along the baseline, grabbing his arm to show where the contact occurred. His reaction - hopping, slapping the hardwood, hands on his head and ultimately dropping to his knees in the paint, head in arms - was one of immense disappointment.

Eric Lewis, the crew chief, told a pool reporter following the game, "There was contact. We didn't make out any foul at that time. The crew failed to spot the incident."

This statement adds to the Los Angeles Lakers' series of frustrations with the refereeing in their games, similar to losses to Dallas, Philadelphia and Sacramento due to decisions not in their favor.

Anthony Davis said, "[Tatum] fouled him. He fouled him. Clearly. Clearly. It's bullsh**. It's unacceptable. And I guarantee nothing will happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight, honestly. It's a blatant foul. It's unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad. They were bad tonight."

James, ranking sixth in the league in points scored at 30.2 per game, expressed his frustration with only 6.2 attempts at free throws per game -- the least among any of the best eight scorers. Posting 41 points through 15-for-30 shooting, he stated, "It's challenging. I don't get it. I'm attacking the paint just as much as any of the guys in this league who shoot double-digit free throws every night, and yet I don't get that. I don't understand it."

James attempted six free throws against the Celtics and the Lakers collectively shot 20. The Celtics, however, nearly doubled that amount, going 34-for-39. James commented that the string of officiating made it appear like his team was being targeted.

"I view basketball every single day," he said. "I watch games every single day. I don't observe this happening to any other squad. It's strange."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham, who ordinarily refrains from criticizing the officiating, couldn't deny the impact the referees had on the game's outcome on Saturday.

Ham expressed that becoming increasingly difficult to not put the officiating of the game into account, claiming that "the best player on earth can't get a call". He asked for more consistency from the referees, citing Jaylen Brown's and-1 free throw which was awarded due to a foul called on Patrick Beverley, compared to the lack of contact fouls called for James during his last-second drive. Furthermore, he highlighted how James' strength and physicality appear to be a disadvantage for him in this case.

"Ham believes that Embiid is not getting rewards for playing a strong, physical style of basketball. He points to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shaq O'Neal during his playing days as examples of players who do not get rewarded for playing the game in the right way. According to Ham, players who flop, fall and scream on every shot they take are the ones who tend to get the whistles."

The disappointed Lakers proposed different alterations which could advance the officiating. Ham recommended either having four referees or altering the challenge rule so that if a coach makes a correct challenge, they can use it again. With 3:41 left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers leading 96-95, Ham attempted a challenge when Davis was assessed a foul for an action with Tatum. The challenge proved successful, however Ham had no further challenges available to use on James' layup attempt at the buzzer.

Davis called upon the officials to be more responsible.

"If they began to be fined for incorrect calls, it would certainly improve," Davis asserted. "However, it is not likely to happen."

Lewis then issued two technical fouls against the Lakers, the first to Schroder in the third quarter when he fell to the floor in response to being penalized for fouling Tatum and Beverley, and the second to Beverley for utilising a cameraperson's equipment to display evidence of Tatum making contact with James at the finish of the fourth.

Lewis criticized the Beverley tech's behaviour when addressing an unfavourable ruling, commenting in a pool report that it had been inappropriate.

Boston proved to be the better team in overtime, outscoring Los Angeles by 8-2 in the first minute and ultimately securing the victory.

Davis suggested that the missed call could have had a lingering effect, stating, "You're not even supposed to be in that situation, to be honest. You're not supposed to be playing overtime.

The Lakers currently stand at 23-27, and are currently 13th in the Western Conference standings. If they had won their recent contests against the Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics, they would be at 27-23 and be situated fourth in the West.

LeBron James had strong words regarding the officiating of these games and said, It's one of the best games we've played all year, and for it to fall on somebody else's judgment or nonjudgment is ridiculous. It's ridiculous.
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