The Los Angeles Lakers have been in the headlines recently for their bout with officiating. Specifically, poor late-game calls in three of the last four games that arguably affected results in two Lakers losses. LeBron James and Darvin Ham, in particular, have not shied away from criticism.
Especially after the last two minute reports from two games confirmed what James and Ham were seeing on the floor, which were bad calls negatively affecting the Lakers. Poor officiating has been a subject of discussion for years in the NBA, and James has often spoken out about not receiving calls despite the fact that his driving rates are among the highest in the league.
Ham attempted a more measured approach to the conversation, subtly criticizing the league’s last two minute reports in general while attempting to put focus back on the actual basketball. “To me, it is what it is,” Ham said.
“I don’t like to go down that road. It’s great that they try to provide that clarity, but after the fact, if it’s something that’s not done correctly in the moment then it’s just like ‘OK, you just confirmed that I was right and you were wrong.’ It’s those huge, game-changing plays, but at the end of the day, you can only control what you can control.
“And what I can control is coaching my team and trying to make sure my staff and I have those guys prepared to go out and have a next-play mentality and not allow a non-whistle or bad whistle spill over to the next three, four or five more plays. We just have to do our best to have a forward-thinking mentality where we’re going possession by possession in a 48-minute game.”
James — who tweeted out his frustrations towards on-court responses to bad foul calls — preached fairness when asked about the online comments.
“I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to it. But it’s very, very frustrating to be able to, you know, put yourself in a position to win, and then you know you have two calls that could have helped you win ballgames and back-to-back games… so you know when you in a win-business, it can affect a lot of people,” James said.
“It can affect a lot of people’s job security, affect a lot of things that’s going on, and when you have an opportunity you put yourself in a position to win and you want to feel like it’s fair.”
It’s unlikely that anything drastic changes with the way the NBA is officiated. And given that the NFL, MLB and just about every other major sport also has officiating issues, the NBA has no real reason to overhaul its system.
For now, the Lakers must take Ham’s approach of controlling what the team can control, and fighting through any potential external factors.
Last two minute report confirms Nunn was fouled against Kings
The last officiating blunder involving the Lakers came on Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings. With the Lakers trailing by four in the final seconds, Kendrick Nunn drilled a 3-pointer. He believed he was bumped by De’Aaron Fox on the play and should’ve been given a free throw attempt to tie the game, and the NBA’s last two minute report confirmed that was the case.
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