The Los Angeles Lakers was furious after match officials admitted they missed a foul on a potential game-winning lay-up from LeBron James against the Boston Celtics, which allowed their rivals to snatch a 125-121 overtime win on Saturday.
With the game tied at 105-105 and 4.1 seconds left on the clock, James attempted to drive through the Celtics’ defence but was fouled by Jayson Tatum, denying the Lakers veteran two points and free throws at the death.
James and the Lakers were left shell-shocked as appeals for a foul were ignored as the clock ran down while Patrick Beverley even received a technical foul when he brought a photographer’s camera on court to show the referee proof of a foul.
“You saw my reaction,” James said. “It’s challenging. I don’t get it.
“You’ve seen some of the games we’ve lost with late-game missed calls... I don’t see it happening to nobody else.”
The Celtics eventually sealed victory in overtime at the TD Garden despite James’ 41-point effort which moved him to within 116 points of all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“As much as you try not to put it on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult... The best player in the NBA can’t get a call. It’s amazing,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham told reporters.
James’ team mate Anthony Davis said the non-call was “unacceptable.”
“I guarantee you nothing’s going to happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight. It’s a blatant foul... The refs were bad tonight,” he said.
Crew Chief Eric Lewis, the lead official, later admitted there was contact.
“At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play,” Lewis said