The Lakers‘ loss to the Celtics on Saturday night came with controversy, as referees appeared to miss a foul by Jayson Tatum on LeBron James in a tie game as time expired in regulation. Boston would win in overtime, while Los Angeles was left to wonder why James didn’t get a chance to win the game at the free throw line.
Multiple Lakers publicly questioned the officiating after the game. James, specifically, openly wondered why he isn’t getting the calls other superstars seem to receive.
“I don’t get it,” James said. “I’m attacking the paint, just as much as any of the guys in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night, and I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.”
James went on to say that when he watches other stars, they get certain calls, and he isn’t sure what he is doing differently.
“I watch basketball every single day. I watch games every single day,” James said. “And I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”
James is averaging 30.2 points per game, which ranks sixth in the league, but his 6.2 free throw attempts per game rank No. 17 in the league. Meanwhile, stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Dončić and Joel Embiid are all getting to the line at least 10 times per game.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham defended James and agrees with the 20-year pro that he should be getting more calls.
“As much as you try not to put it on the officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” Ham said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “The best player on earth can’t get a call. It’s amazing.”
Although it usually takes the NBA a day or two to release the two-minute report from each game, McMenamin reports the league acknowledged refs missed the call on Tatum at the end of regulation.
Laker forward Anthony Davis thinks the NBA should hold the refs more accountable to help them get better at their job.
“I guarantee that if the refs started getting fined for missed calls, it would be a lot better,” Davis said. “But nothing will be done.”