Lakers, LeBron stunned after not receiving whistle against Celtics; referees admit failing appeal

Lakers, LeBron stunned after not receiving whistle against Celtics;  referees admit failing appeal

The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t getting along with officials this season. Los Angeles ranks third in the NBA in restricted area field goal attempts, but only 19th in free throw attempts per minute. For some reason, the offense that scores more in the paint than any other doesn’t seem to get calls late in games. And against the Celtics on Saturday night in Boston, the situation hit a new low.

Down to three with four seconds to go, Jaylen Brown made a layup that cut the Lakers lead to one. Okay no problem. That still left the Lakers with the ball and the lead… right? Fake. Seemingly out of nowhere, Patrick Beverley was called for one of the last fouls you will ever see.


Brown made the free throw. The Lakers called time out. They worked out a play for James to attack the rim. He goes into the paint and sets up a lay-up. Jayson Tatum clearly hits him on the arm. Again, no whistle. And much like their double-overtime loss to the Mavericks on Jan. 12 — the game in which Troy Brown Jr. was apparently clogged on a game-winning 3-point attempt but did not receive a whistle – once again the Lakers are down on a bad missed call.

After the match, team manager Eric Lewis admitted to the poolside reporter that a mistake had been made on final possession. “There have been contacts” he said. “At the time, during the game, we didn’t see any fouls. The team missed the game.” Either way, neither James nor Beverley handled bad calls particularly well. James collapsed in a way that was almost reminiscent of his infamous reaction to JR Smith forgetting the score at the end of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

Beverley was more proactive. Between the fourth quarter and overtime, he got his hands on a camera and was possibly trying to show it to Lewis. He was immediately called for a technical foul for the effort, and Tatum hit the free throw before overtime began.

The Lakers were, predictably, livid after the game. “The best player in the world can’t get a call-up. It’s unbelievable,” coach Darvin Ham said. said. Anthony Davis wasn’t even that diplomatic. “That’s bullshit”, Davis said. “It’s unacceptable. … We got screwed tonight.” James himself was stunned.

“I don’t understand”, James said. “I attack the paint as much as any of the other guys in this league who shoot double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

The Lakers are now 23-27 and sit 13th in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers (28-24) currently hold the fourth seed, but are only four games ahead of them in the standings. Every win and loss in the standings is essential in such a crowded playoff race. If that parity persists, a call the NBA immediately admitted was wrong could be the difference between the Lakers making the playoffs, making the play-ins, or missing the playoffs altogether. It’s not hard to see why they’re so upset. From their perspective, a pattern of bad officiating has followed them throughout the season, and if the Celtics game was any indication, they might be right.

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