LeBron James was left hunched on the court in frustration after referees missed a foul on his attempted game-winning layup, and the Los Angeles Lakers succumbed to a 125-121 overtime loss against the Boston Celtics.
With the game tied at 105 and less than three seconds on the clock, James drove in for a layup and was hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum, but the referees didn’t call a foul leading to overtime.
James hopped around the court, his head in his hands in complete disbelief, while Patrick Beverley got a camera from a photographer to show the ref a picture of the missed call and received a technical foul in return.
James had poured in a game-high 41 points, leaving him 117 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record, as well as nine rebounds and eight assists but was furious afterwards.
“I don’t understand,” he told reporters after the game. “I don’t understand what we are doing and I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single day and I don’t see it happening to anyone else. It’s just weird.”
The Lakers’ fury was magnified by a series of previous calls which they have seen as poor officiating during close defeats to the Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers.
“We got cheated tonight,” Lakers power forward Anthony Davis said afterwards. “It’s a blatant foul… It’s unacceptable to be honest. The refs were bad tonight.”
Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown added 11 points in overtime for the Celtics to help secure victory and snap their three-game losing streak. His 37 points in the game also included a three-pointer to tie it up with 4.1 seconds left of regulation time. Tatum contributed 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.