On a last-second drive, LeBron James appeared to sustain contact from Jayson Tatum, yet a foul wasn’t called. Here’s what NBA officials said.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics by four points in overtime on Saturday following a controversial fourth-quarter-ending no-call where LeBron James drove to the rim and appeared to get hit by Jayson Tatum’s attempt to block the ball.
Had a foul been called, James would have gone to the free-throw line to put the Lakers up by one or two points, if he made either or both free throws, respectively. Instead, the game remained tied and went to overtime where the Celtics prevailed.
Here’s what officials said about controversial no-call on LeBron James-Jayson Tatum incident
Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe was the pool reporter’s representative for the game. Here’s everything he asked the crew chief, Eric Lewis.
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.”
So, the reporting crew admits that they missed the foul, which is a moral victory for LA but doesn’t change the outcome. So in the end, it’s unhelpful.
As for how the correct call would have changed the outcome, there’s no guarantee that it would have. But it would have given James a closing opportunity with two chances to get the Lakers go-ahead points that he seldom falls short on.
LeBron is a 77 percent free-throw shooter. In clutch situations, however, he’s an 81 percent free-throw shooter.