After losing three games in a row, the Boston Celtics picked up a much-needed win on January 28, taking down the Los Angeles Lakers in an overtime thriller. However, the game came with plenty of controversy in the final moments of regulation.
On the last play of the fourth quarter, LeBron James drove to the hoop and was fouled by Jayson Tatum, but nothing was called. The referees didn’t call a foul, and the game went to overtime, causing James and the entire Lakers bench to erupt with displeasure. After the game, James revealed his frustrations with the issue.
“It’s been building. I mean you guys [have] seen some of the games that we’ve lost this year with late-game missed calls,” James said via CLNS Media. “We had an opportunity to literally win the game. I mean, that’s… This is the second one in the last few weeks for myself. Against Dallas, [we] had an opportunity to win the game if the foul was called. K-Nunn the other day had an opportunity to tie the game if the four-point play is called. I don’t understand. I don’t understand what we’re doing and I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single day and I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”
Immediately after the game, the league determined that Tatum did, in fact, foul James on the last play of the game. It capped off a rough stretch for the officials down the stretch, as both coaches were forced to use their challenges in the fourth quarter, and both times, the coach won.
Despite the no-call, James still poured in an unbelievable performance at TD Garden. He finished with a game-high 41 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on 15-of-30 shooting from the field and 6-of-12 shooting from behind the three-point line.
Jaylen Brown Sounds Off on LeBron James
Before the Lakers came to town for the January 28 matchup, Celtics star Jaylen Brown got the chance to speak about what it was like to face off against James in the playoffs early on in his career.
“I think that experience, you know, experience is the best teacher,” Brown explained via CLNS Media. “Early on, being able to be thrown into high [intensity] moments, where everybody’s watching again, some of the best players in the world, have kind of led to cultivate the experiences that we get to see now. The growth, the amount of basketball maturity, how to win games, all of that comes into play. So it should be fun, playing against one of the, arguably the greatest player of all time in LeBron James.”
Nick Nurse Goes on Tirade After Losing to Celtics
James isn’t the first person to be upset with the referees after a loss to the Celtics lately. After Boston’s January 21 win over the Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse went on a rant over his attempt to challenge a call.
“I asked the referee if I could challenge he said, ‘If you take a timeout you can,’ and I said, ‘Okay, timeout,’” Nurse explained via CLNS Media. “And then Ed Malloy came over and said, ‘You can’t challenge a jump ball,’ and I said, ‘Okay, no timeout.’ And the original referee, Michael Smith, said, ‘You’re taking your timeout, you called it.’ I said, ‘I asked you if I could challenge.’ So, that was, it turned into being a jump ball strategy timeout, but it was meant to be a challenge timeout… Very disappointing administering of that at the end.”