The Boston Celtics picked up a dramatic win over the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime on Saturday, but it took a blatant no-call at the end of regulation to get there.
Let’s just say LeBron James and the Lakers weren’t pleased.
In the final seconds of regulation with the score tied 105-105, the Lakers had the ball and a chance to end the game. Predictably, the ball ended up in the hands of James, who drove into the paint and missed a would-be game-winning lay-up.
Replay soon showed that James was clearly hacked on the arm by Jayson Tatum and should have received two free throws. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the officials didn’t see it that way and sent the game to overtime.
James was apoplectic immediately after the play, yelling at the officials, spinning around, smacking the floor and ultimately ending up on his hands and knees on the court.
LeBron was not happy after this play to win the game. pic.twitter.com/FNMPBQTHox
— ESPN (@espn) January 29, 2023
Despite James’ theatrics, he wasn’t the reason the Celtics opened overtime with a free throw via a technical foul.
That fell at the feet of one Patrick Beverley, who minutes earlier had thrown down arguably the best dunk of his career. As the dust settled on regulation, Beverley picked up a tech by presenting a photographer’s camera to an official as evidence of the missed call.
Technical fouls really don’t get funnier than this:
Patrick Beverley really brought a camera out to the floor 😅 pic.twitter.com/7hMugg7BaN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2023
The robbery narrative was sealed once the Celtics put the Lakers away in overtime. It was little consolation that James managed to post 41 points as he inches ever closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record.
The no-call was so bad that crew chief Eric Lewis admitted “the crew missed the play” to a pool reporter after the game, a rarity in such interviews. Per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have already received confirmation from league officials that the call was botched.
Meanwhile, the Lakers were unsurprisingly furious while speaking with reporters.
Here’s Darvin Ham:
“The best player on earth can’t get a call. It’s amazing.”
Then Anthony Davis weighed in:
“It’s bulls***. End of the day, it’s unacceptable and I guarantee nothing will happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight. It was a blatant foul.
And, of course, James:
“You saw my reaction.”
The loss knocks the Lakers’ record down to 23-27, still good for 13th in the Western Conference. Between injuries, mistakes and now this, it has been a frustrating season, and Saturday represented a major opportunity to move in the right direction.
Of course, the call was also just one play in a 52-minute game, but that’s never going to take the sting out of the fact that one whistle would have almost certainly given the Lakers the win.[via]