Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has made his feelings known about the no-call that defined the team’s 125-121 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics. On the final play of regulation, James was clearly hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum, but no call was made, leading the game to overtime.
The referees involved in that game, as well as the official NBA referee Twitter account, admitted the mistake immediately following the game. This situation has been a boiling point for the Lakers, who have felt spurned by officiating multiple times in the past few weeks.
James managed a good sense of humor about the situation, taking to Instagram to congratulate Tatum for his “block.” Tatum continued the good-natured bit with a response of his own:
This LeBron and Tatum exchange about last night 😅 pic.twitter.com/o5CLoNSMif
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 30, 2023
The Lakers have every right to be frustrated by the call that ultimately could have decided the game. If the baseline referee correctly calls the foul, James needs to make only one free throw to effectively secure a Lakers victory. Instead, the game went to overtime and the Celtics pulled away in the final minute.
This is the fourth time in the last month that the Lakers feel a last-second call determined the difference between winning and losing. And all season, James has felt he’s not getting calls at a high rate despite driving to the basket at one of the highest rates in the NBA.
And in an incredibly crowded Western Conference, those four results being flipped would be the difference between 13th place — where L.A. currently sits — and fourth, as they are just 3.5 games back of the L.A. Clippers in the No. 4 seed.
But at the end of the day, officiating is an impossible job. Getting 100% of calls correct is simply unattainable, and any wrong calls in either direction lead to accusations of bias or incompetence. James and the Lakers need to now re-focus on the task at hand, instead of being worried about the officials.
Dennis Schroder calls for NBA refs to be fined
James was not the only Lakers player to take to Instagram to vent frustrations about the officials. Dennis Schroder called for NBA refs to be fined for mistakes in the same way players are.
He also called for refs to stop giving technical fouls for reactions to incorrect calls. This was in reference to the Patrick Beverley technical that was assessed at the end of regulation and before overtime.
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