‘We got cheated’: Celtics, Lakers react to controversial non-call in Boston’s victory over LA

"It was a blatant foul."

LeBron James was incredulous over a non-call at the end of regulation when it appeared he was hit while shooting a layup that would've won the Lakers the game over the Celtics on Saturday. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

LeBron James had a shot to win the game for the Lakers over the Celtics in the last moments of regulation on Saturday night.

Right after Jaylen Brown’s made basket and ensuing free-throw tied the game at 105-105 with four seconds remaining, James was able to drive to the rim and got a shot off while appearing to be fouled by Jayson Tatum. However, James missed the layup, and no foul was called on the Celtics star, sending the game to overtime, where Boston eventually pulled away to win 125-121.

After the game, the Lakers were understandably upset by the officiating. Heck, they showed their disapproval of the non-call the moment it happened. James was exasperated by the lack of a call and collapsed to the court. During the break between the end of regulation and the start of overtime, Lakers guard Patrick Beverly received a technical foul for bringing a camera off the team’s bench to show referee Eric Lewis that the official missed the call.

When asked about his perspective of the play and non-call, James simply replied by saying, “you saw my reaction,” before saying he isn’t sure why he isn’t getting more free throws (he’s currently tied for the 20th-most per game, averaging 6.2 free-throw attempts per game).


“It’s challenging. Very challenging,” James said. “I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I’m attacking the paint just as much as any of the other guys in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.”

James believes that the Lakers, who are 23-27 and are 13th in the Western Conference, have been on the wrong side of some controversial late-game ref decisions in recent weeks.

“It’s been building,” James said. “I mean, you guys have seen some of the (games) we’ve lost this year with late-game missed calls. We had an opportunity to literally win the game. I had the second one in the last few weeks for myself against Dallas, had an opportunity to win the game if the foul was called.”

“I don’t understand. I don’t understand what we’re doing,” James added. “I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single day. I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”

Lakers star Anthony Davis showed more frustration toward the officials between the non-call on James’s game-winning attempt and the foul call that sent Brown to the free-throw line to tie the game with four seconds left.


“It’s [expletive],” Davis said. “It’s unacceptable and I guarantee you nothing will happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight. It was a blatant foul. Pat got all ball on Brown and Bron got smacked across his arm. It’s unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad. They were bad tonight.

“We did a good job on both ends of the floor and to come here, and they’re the best team in the league, and do that and get cheated like that is a tough pill to swallow.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said that “as much as you try not to put [the loss] on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult [not to].”

“It’s unfortunate that the game ends on a play like that,” Ham said. “You don’t ask for favoritism. You just ask for consistency. Apparently, I used my challenge too soon, maybe. I don’t know. It is what it is. My hats off to the Celtics. They’re a helluva ballclub. A championship-level ballclub.”

“The best player on earth couldn’t get a call.”

The officials admitted their mistake following the game.

“There was contact,” Lewis told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach in the postgame pool report. “At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”


Lewis was also asked why Beverly received a technical foul for bringing the camera to show him the missed call.

“His actions were inappropriate in addressing resentment to a non-call,” Lewis said.

Meanwhile, the Celtics sort of acknowledged that they got away with one. Tatum joked about the non-call when asked if he thought he fouled James.

“The last two minutes and overtime was a blur,” Tatum said with a smile. “I don’t really know what happened. Think I have to watch the game, watch the film. Everything happened so fast. Gotta move on and we got the win. That’s all I got to say about that.”

Brown defended the refs for the call they made that gave him the and-1 opportunity with four seconds remaining that Davis was upset with.

“I for sure got hit in the head. I don’t know who it was, whether it was Pat Bev or [Dennis] Schroder. But one of them for sure smacked me on top of the head. And they called it. Luckily they called it. That’s just the craziness of the game.

“It looked like they might have missed a call on their end at the end of the game. But that’s life. They’ll be all right.”


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