The National Basketball Referees Association released a statement on a brutal missed foul call on LeBron James as the sports world turned its attention to the NFC Championship Game on Sunday evening.
With sports fans focused on the Philadelphia Eagles’ beating of the San Francisco 49ers, the union’s official Twitter account offered its own remarks on the call. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar appeared to be hit on the arm as he went up for a last-second layup against the Boston Celtics on Saturday. There was no foul called on the play.
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“Like everyone else, referees make mistakes,” the tweet read. “We made one at the end of last night’s game and that is gut-wrenching for us. This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be.”
In a 105-105 game with about 4 seconds left, James went to his left and drove down the lane toward the basket. James was surrounded by three Celtics defenders and went up to the basket with his left hand, and it appeared he was hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum.
James missed the layup and there was no foul called on the play. The Lakers superstar was beside himself over the no-call and fell to the floor in disbelief. Patrick Beverley, at one point, came over with a camera to show the referee what he missed. He received a technical foul.
“I don’t understand. I don’t understand what we’re doing, and I watch basketball every single day,” James said after the game. “I watch games every single day and I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”
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Anthony Davis put it more bluntly.
“He fouled him. He fouled him. Clearly. Clearly,” Davis said via the Los Angeles Times. “It’s bulls—. But at the end of the day, like, it’s unacceptable. And I guarantee nothing is going to happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight, honestly.”
“It’s a blatant foul. Pat got all ball on I think Brown – Jaylen Brown. They call a foul. And Bron gets smacked across the arm [and they don’t]. It’s unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad. They were bad tonight.”
The game would go to overtime and Boston would come away with a 125-121 win.
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For the Lakers, the referees’ mistakes could cost them a potential game in the win column. Los Angeles is fighting for a play-in game spot at the very least. The Lakers fell to 23-27 with the loss.