Lakers, LeBron stunned after failing to score game-winning free throw against Celtics; Referee admit call inflated
The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t getting along with officials this season. Los Angeles ranks third in the NBA for restricted area field goal attempts, but only 19th for free throw attempts per minute. For some reason, the offensive that scores more points than everyone else doesn’t seem to get calls at the end of games. And against the Celtics on Saturday night in Boston, the situation hit a new low.
With four seconds remaining, Jaylen Brown made a layup that reduced the Lakers’ lead to one. ok no problem That still left the Lakers with the ball and the lead… right? Not correct. Seemingly out of nowhere, Patrick Beverley was called out for one of the latest fouls you’ll ever see.
Brown made the free throw. The Lakers called a timeout. They designed a play for James to attack the rim. He goes into the suit and lays down. Jayson Tatum clearly smacks him in the arm. Again no whistle. And just like their double overtime loss to the Mavericks on Jan. 12 — the game in which Troy Brown Jr. apparently got dirty on a game-winning 3-point try but didn’t get a whistle — once again, the Lakers are defeated over a nasty missed call.
After the game, team boss Eric Lewis admitted to the pool reporter that a mistake had been made on the last possession. “There was contact,” he said. “Back then, during the game, we didn’t see a foul. The team missed the game.” However, neither James nor Beverley handled the bad calls particularly well. James melted in a way almost reminiscent of his infamous reaction when JR Smith forgot the score at the end of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.
Beverly was more proactive. Between the fourth quarter and overtime, he kind of got his hands on a camera and maybe tried to show it to Lewis. He was immediately called for a technical foul and Tatum hit the free throw before overtime began.
The Lakers were predictably furious after the game. “The best player in the world can’t be called. It’s incredible,” said manager Darvin Ham. Anthony Davis wasn’t even that diplomatic. “That’s bullshit,” Davis said. “This is unacceptable. … We were betrayed tonight.” James himself was confused.
“I don’t understand,” James said. “I’m attacking the color like any other guy in this league who’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I do not get it. I do not understand.”
The Lakers are now 23-27 and sit 13th in the Western Conference. The 28-24 Los Angeles Clippers currently hold the No. 4 seed but are just four games ahead of them overall. Every win and loss in the standings is crucial in such a crowded playoff race. If that parity holds, a call that the NBA immediately admitted was wrong could mean the difference between the Lakers missing the playoffs, the play-in, or the postseason altogether. It’s not hard to see why they’re so upset. From their point of view, a pattern of poor administration followed them throughout the season and if the Celtics’ game was any indication, they could be right.
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