The 2022-23 season has had some seriously poor showings of officiating that has fans of nearly every team fired up.
It’s natural for most fans to believe that their team is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to calls, though the Los Angeles Lakers certainly have legitimate gripes after losing multiple games that they should’ve won due to very questionable refereeing. However, the loss to the Boston Celtics was the most egregious piece of officiating so far this year.
Tied at 105 apiece, LeBron James drove to the basket on the Lakers’ final possession and was fouled by Jayson Tatum, who clearly hit him across his left arm. James was incredulous at the no-call, and the frustration clearly seeped into the overtime period where Los Angeles couldn’t recover.
There were numerous missed calls on the night, and it didn’t take long for the officials to admit they got the James one wrong. In an NBA pool report after the game, Crew Chief Eric Lewis admitted they missed the call.
QUESTION: “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.”
QUESTION: “It looked like he brought a camera out – was he trying to show you something?”
LEWIS: “Yes, that was part of his inappropriate actions.”
QUESTION: “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?”
LEWIS: “There was contact. At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”
The NBA usually sends out last two minute reports as a way to explain any late-game calls, but they didn’t even wait until the following day to admit they missed this one.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham was understandably furious postgame, saying he had no interest in hearing from the league about the gale.
“I don’t want to see another last two minute report. They can save that. It does no one any good,” Ham said.
When replaying the video, there’s no reason a foul shouldn’t have been called against Tatum as he clearly makes contact with James’ arm on the final play. The Lakers should have had a chance to win the game in regulation with James at the line, but instead get dealt another terrible loss that hampers any momentum.
The NBA needs to do something to fix the quality of officiating in games across the league, not just with the Lakers. With the Western Conference standings so packed, a loss like this for L.A. could be detrimental down the stretch. Ham and the rest of the team have every right to be angry, and it’ll be interesting to see how the league handles such an obvious mistake