last posts

Lakers seething after missed call leads to loss vs. Celtics

BOSTON -- The Los Angeles Lakers lost 125-121 to the Celtics in overtime on Saturday, and the referee conceded that Jayson Tatum missed a shot at Jayson Tatum in the closing seconds of the game. A shooting foul by Brown James, and another related loss by the referees was brewing in Los Angeles.

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to knock out the league-leading Celtics when James headed in with 4.0 seconds left. When he attempted a left-handed layup, he drove all the way to the rim, but got hit in the arm by Tatum and missed the shot before the timer expired.

James immediately turned to the referee standing on the baseline and grabbed his arm to signal contact. He jumped around, banged on the hardwood, hugged his head in disbelief, and ended up on his knees in the paint, resting his head on the floor with his arms.

"There was contact," team owner Eric Lewis told Billiards reporters after the game. "Back then, during the game, we didn't see fouls and the team was out of the game."

The acknowledgment was the latest in a string of bad officials the Lakers have seen in their games, reminiscent of recent losses to Dallas, Philadelphia and Sacramento when the calls went against them.

"[Tatum] fouled him. He fouled him. Absolutely. Absolutely," Anthony Davis said. "It's the police --- ... this is unacceptable. I guarantee nothing will happen to the referee. Honestly, we were cheated tonight. It was a clear foul ... this It's unacceptable, to be honest. The referees suck. They sucked tonight."

James ranks sixth in the league in 30.2 points per game and 6.2 free throws per game, the lowest among the league's top eight scorers.

"It was a challenge," James said after scoring 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting. "I don't get it. I attack the color like a player in this league who makes double-digit free throws a night, but I don't get it. I don't get it."

James attempted six free throws against the Celtics, and the Lakers combined for 20 free throws. The Celtics nearly double that number, going from 34 to 39. He said a disappointing spate of official actions made it look like his team was being targeted.

"I watch basketball every day," he said. "I watch the game every day. And I don't think it's going to happen to anybody. It's weird."

Lakers coach Dalvin Ham, who is usually reluctant to criticize referees, couldn't deny that referees had an impact on the outcome of Saturday's game.

"As much as you try not to put it on the board, it gets harder and harder," Ham said. "The best player in the world cannot be called. It's fantastic."

Hamm called for more consistency from the referees, noting that Jaylen Brown was awarded a 1-1 free throw after the referee fouled Patrick Beverley in the last second before James kicked off. He also said James' strength and physicality worked against him.

"[He] plays a strong, physical type of basketball, and just because he doesn't fall, doesn't fall, or yell like I've seen a lot of other players do when he's playing, he's being punished. There's a penalty for that," Ham said. "I saw the same thing with Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. I saw the same thing when I was a player in the Shaq [O'Neal] era. These guys were physical and really tried to focus on finishing the game and sometimes they didn't .” Not in their favor. But you'll see other guys complaining every time they take a shot or every time they get pushed...and they're the ones who get the whistle.

The disillusioned Lakers were quick to come up with some tweaks that could improve the office. Hamm suggested having four officials or changing the rules of the challenge and, if successful, the coach could use it again. Ham called for the challenge at 3:41 of the fourth quarter when Davis was ejected for a foul on Tatum and the Lakers took a 96-95 lead. The challenge was successful and the call was overturned, but Hamm did not challenge and was unable to convert James' buzzer-beater layup attempt.

Davis called on officials to take more responsibility.

"I promise, it would have been a lot better if the referee had been fined for not calling a call," Davis said. "But nothing was done."

Lewis also committed two technical fouls against the Lakers, including one in the third quarter when Dennis Schroder was knocked to the ground for a Tatum foul and Beverley got a shot from the court early in overtime. A cameraman was brought in to show digital foul evidence that Tatum contacted James at the end of the fourth quarter.

"His behavior was inappropriate to express displeasure at not calling," Lewis said in a pool report from the Beverly technicians.

Boston beat Los Angeles 8-2 in the first minute of overtime and didn't look back, clinging to the win.

"You're still thinking about that," Davis said of the broadcast effect of the missed call. "Honestly, you shouldn't even be in this situation. You shouldn't be working overtime."

The loss leaves the Lakers in 13th place in the Western Conference with a 23-27 record. Had they won their past four games against Dallas, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Boston, they would have been fourth in the West with a 27-23 record.

"It was one of the best games we've played all year, and when it comes down to someone else's judgment or non-judgment, it's ridiculous," James said. "It's ridiculous."


Social Bar

Font Size
lines height