The Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets has had many storylines, with officiating being one of them.
Since the beginning of the series, both teams have expressed annoyance at certain calls being made by the referees — or lack thereof. After Game 1, Nuggets star Jamal Murray spoke out about his teammates getting into foul trouble too easily, saying Denver must “earn the respect” of the officials against a team like the Lakers.
Meanwhile, LeBron James regularly shows displeasure when the referees rule to play on instead of calling for a foul following many of his aggressive drives to the basket. The three-time NBA champion has only shot from the charity line a combined 10 times over the first three game of the series, eliciting action from the team after Tuesday’s loss.
“We’re dealing with the fouls through the proper channels with the league,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “I think he’s gone to the basket very aggressively, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
The Lakers have also been given three technical fouls in the last two games, with Dwight Howard registering two and assistant Phil Handy receiving one himself. But Vogel remained tight-lipped when asked how problematic the officiating has been in the series.
“I don’t have any comment publicly about it at this time,” he said. “I think we’re exhibiting decent composure. I know we got the tech in Game 2, but yeah, we’re playing through it.”
James ‘OK’ with Murray’s elbow
James recorded just two free throw attempts in Game 3 and it only came after Murray hit him in the face with his elbow in the third quarter. The officials called a Flagrant 1 foul on the Nuggets guard, meaning he was not ejected from the game.
But James did not think Murray’s play was intentional. “I don’t think it was blatant, but I don’t know his mindset,” James said after the game. “But I don’t think he did it on purpose. I was OK with it. You know, went down for a little bit. Got back up and was ready to play.”
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