Lakers feel ‘cheated’ after no-call on LeBron’s potential game-winner

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (6) reacts after missing a shot late in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics added another chapter to their historic rivalry, only this time, the referees were heavily involved… as well as a camera.

With the game tied 105-105, Lakers superstar LeBron James drove to the basket to try and win the game in the dying seconds, and it appeared he was fouled on the arm by Boston’s Jayson Tatum.

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The referees had other ideas, as they swallowed their whistles, sending the game to overtime instead.

James and the rest of the Lakers’ bench were irate with the no-call. The four-time MVP, who is no stranger to dramatics on the court, even fell to his knees in response to what he believed was a missed call.

With the game headed to an extra frame, Patrick Beverley couldn’t miss his chance to get in on the theatrics. Before overtime tipped off, the veteran took a camera from someone on the sidelines and showed it to referee Eric Lewis in hopes of proving he missed the call.

Beverley was assessed a technical foul, and the Celtics started overtime with a one-point lead after the technical free throw was made.

Boston would go on to win the game 125-121 in the extra five minutes of basketball.

After the game, the Lakers weren’t done discussing the officials’ performance.

James felt his team had one of its better performances of the season, and was disappointed the result came down to a decision by the referees.

“It’s one of the best games we’ve played all year,” said James. “And for it to fall on someone else’s judgement, or non-judgement, it’s ridiculous.”

Lakers star forward Anthony Davis told reporters that the Lakers felt “cheated,” and that the league should look to improve accountability from its officials by fining referees for incorrect calls.

Los Angeles head coach Darwin Ham also had some choice words.

“As much as you try not to put it on the officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” the first-year head coach said. “The best player on earth can’t get a call. … It’s amazing.”

According to ESPN‘s Dave McMenamin, the NBA determined shortly after the game that the referees did indeed miss the call, and that Tatum should have been assessed a shooting foul on James.

“There was contact,” referee Eric Lewis said in a pool report after the game. “At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”

With the loss, the Lakers fell to 23-26 on the season.

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