The National Basketball Association said Sunday that LeBron James was fouled on the final play of regulation in the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Boston Celtics.
The NBA office also confirmed for a second time that a foul should have been called.
“Like everyone, referees make mistakes,” the union tweeted. “We had one at the end of last night’s game and it’s stressing us out. This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be.”
James got the ball about 35 feet from the basket with 4.1 seconds left in what was a tied game in Boston on Saturday night. He split two defenders as he got into the lane, then took off and also got past Jayson Tatum.
James put the ball in with his left hand, Tatum clearly made contact with James’ throwing arm, no foul was called and the game went to overtime. Had a foul been called, James would have gone to the free throw line with a chance to put the Lakers ahead with 1.8 seconds left.
The Celtics ended up winning the game in overtime, 125-121.
“We got cheated tonight, honestly … It’s unacceptable,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said after the game.
The NBA acknowledged shortly after the game that a foul should have been called.
“There was contact. At that point in the game, we didn’t see a foul. The crew missed the play,” crew chief Eric Lewis told a pool reporter, reiterating this Sunday in the report detailing the calls made and missed in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime.
The Lakers entered Sunday 13th in the Western Conference at 23-27, just two games behind the last-place playoff spot and four games ahead of the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers. But the Lakers have also spent virtually the entire season on the outside of the playoff picture.
“We have no margin for error,” James said after Saturday’s game. “And it’s one of the best games we’ve played all year. Whether it comes down to somebody else’s judgment, or not, it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”
Neither James nor Davis will play in the Lakers’ next game Monday in Brooklyn, the team said. Injuries are the reason; James has soreness in his left ankle and Davis continues to deal with a stress injury in his right foot.
James reacted with no shortage of excitement after Tatum’s missed play call, immediately pointing at Tatum’s arm and eventually falling to the court, leaning on his knees and elbows as he tried to grab a header. missing
Lakers guard Patrick Beverley brought a camera onto the court during the ensuing stoppage to show Lewis a picture of the contact; Beverley received a technical foul and the Celtics ended up starting overtime with a 106-105 lead due to the resulting free throw.
It marked at least the fourth time in recent weeks that the Lakers felt a late-game call go against them in what turned out to be a loss.
“I can’t see it not happening to anybody else,” James said. “It’s just weird.”
Lakers coach Darvin Ham added: “As much as you try not to officiate, it’s getting harder and harder.”
Report from The Associated Press.
FOX Sports Top Stories:
Get more from the National Basketball Association Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more