Referee has straightforward response to LeBron James no-call in Celtics-Lakers
Ref has straightforward response to LeBron no-call vs. Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Referees have to call games like they see them. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, the officials didn't see Jayson Tatum foul LeBron James on a layup attempt in the final seconds of regulation Saturday night at TD Garden.
Tatum clearly hit James' left arm as James went up for a layup in a tie game, and had a foul been called, James could have iced the game with a free throw. Instead, the refs let the game go to overtime, where the Boston Celtics rallied for a 125-121 victory.
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The no-call was controversial enough to warrant a pool report after the game, and Crew Chief Eric Lewis actually admitted the officials' mistake.
Pool Reporter (Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe): "It looked like there was contact on LeBron’s drive at the end of regulation. Why was there no foul call there and what did you see there?"
Eric Lewis: "There was contact. At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play."
It's rare for referees to openly admit mistakes, but this was a pretty obvious foul on Tatum. James threw an Oscar-worthy fit in the moment, while teammate Patrick Beverley even found a camera to show Lewis the evidence of contact on James (drawing a technical foul in the process).
Lewis also addressed the Beverley incident in the pool report.
Himmelsbach: "Why was Patrick Beverley assessed a technical foul at the end of regulation?"
Lewis: "His actions were inappropriate in addressing resentment to a non-call."
Himmelsbach: "It looked like he brought a camera out – was he trying to show you something?"
Lewis: "Yes, that was part of his inappropriate actions."
Beverly and a few other Lakers could face future discipline for their reactions and postgame comments; Anthony Davis deemed the no-call "bulls---" and "unacceptable," while Dennis Schroder suggested the officials themselves should be fined for failing to call the foul.
The Lakers have a bone to pick with the missed call, and Lewis' comments validate the sentiment that they were robbed of a win Saturday night. Then again, Los Angeles had several other opportunities to win Saturday's game and wouldn't have needed James' layup had Beverley not given Jaylen Brown an and-one with an ill-advised foul on the previous possession.
The Celtics also deserve credit for buckling down in overtime and putting their good luck to good use to snap a three-game losing streak.