Lakers Star LeBron James Rips Into Refs After OT Loss to Celtics

LeBron James

Getty Images LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics.

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers did not hold back with their criticism of the officials after a crucial foul was missed in the final seconds of regulation against the Boston Celtics.

James went up for a layup in the waning moments of the matchup that would have served as the game-winner and was hacked on the arm by Celtics star Jayson Tatum. However, no foul was called and the game went to overtime with the teams tied at 105. The Celtics got the better of the Lakers in overtime 125-121 but the missed call was a major talking point for LA after the game.

“It’s bulls**t. It’s unacceptable,” Anthony Davis said after the game. “I guarantee you nothing is gonna happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight. It’s a blatant foul… Refs were bad tonight.”

James went down to his knees and put his head on the court after the missed call, expressing his frustration with the situation. While his words weren’t as strong as Davis’ following the loss, it was clear how he felt about the situation.

“You saw my reaction,” James said from his locker with a despondent look on his face, shaking his head. “Challenging. I don’t get it. I’m attacking the paint just as much as any of these other guys in this league shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand.”

James finished with a game-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds and eight assists. He shot just six free throws, hitting five of them. The Celtics shot nearly double the amount of free throws (39-20) as the Lakers did in the game.

LeBron James Laments String of Missed Calls

While frustrated, James said he has not talked to the league directly over the lack of whistles in crucial situations. He doesn’t feel like it would be constructive to him or the Lakers if he did so.

“I don’t get into that,” James said. “If our organization decides they want to do that, that’s cool. It ain’t gonna change s**t.”

A controversial missed foul late is nothing new for the Lakers. They’ve had multiple games in the last month where a decision from the officials has changed the outcome of a contest, with the Last Two-Minute Report from the league confirming what the Lakers felt. But at that point, it’s too little, too late and the tally is already in the loss column for LA.

“It’s been building. You’ve seen some of the games we’ve lost this year with late-game missed calls. We had an opportunity to literally win the game,” James said. “I don’t understand. I watch basketball every single day and I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”

League Has Already Acknowledged Missed Call on James

It’s hard to say that the Lakers’ frustrations are unwarranted, considering the league has already acknowledged that it was a missed call on James.

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

James and the Lakers found some support from Hall of Famer James Worthy — a studio analyst for the Lakers — who unleashed on the officiating crew.

“That one right there pissed me off. That was one of the worst referee crews that I seen officiating a game,” Worthy said. “That referee crew shouldn’t get to call more big games. … They should be ashamed, they really should.”

The Lakers fell to 23-27 with the loss but should be encouraged by their performance against the Eastern Conference’s top squad. The Lakers will continue their road trip against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

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