Lakers were cheated in OV loss to Celtics

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The referee in the LA Lakers defeat to Celtics admitted that the Lakers were cheated in the game.

The head referee in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 125-121 overtime loss to the Celtics on Saturday admitted there was a missed shooting foul by Jayson Tatum against LeBron James in the final seconds of regulation, leaving L.A. seething about another defeat tied to officiating.

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to knock off the league-leading Celtics when James drove to the hoop with the score tied with 4.0 seconds remaining. He got all the way to the basket when he attempted a left-handed layup and was smacked on the arm by Tatum, missing the shot just before time expired.

James immediately turned to the referee stationed along the baseline, grabbing his arm to indicate where the contact occurred. He hopped up and down, slapped the hardwood, held his hands on his head in disbelief and finally dropped to his knees in the paint and put his head down into his arms on the floor.

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

The admission was the latest in what the Lakers see as a series of poor officiating in their games, bringing to mind recent losses to Dallas, Philadelphia and Sacramento when calls did not go in their favor.

“[Tatum] fouled him. He fouled him. Clearly. Clearly,” said Anthony Davis. “It’s bulls—. … It’s unacceptable. And I guarantee nothing is going to happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight, honestly. It’s a blatant foul. … It’s unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad. They were bad tonight.”

James, who came into the night sixth in the league in scoring at 30.2 points per game, averages 6.2 free throw attempts per game — the lowest attempts among any of the league’s top eight scorers.

“It’s challenging,” James said, finishing with 41 points on 15-for-30 shooting. “I don’t get it. 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.”



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