LeBron James and the Lakers thought they should have gotten a chance to win at the end of regulation. Instead, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics went on to win in overtime, beating Los Angeles 125-121 at TD Garden Saturday night.
On the final possession of regulation, James drove to the basket and appeared to get fouled during a layup attempt by Jayson Tatum. Instead of James going to the free-throw line needing to hit just one of two to win the game, the referees missed Tatum’s slash at James’ wrist and let the game continue on to OT instead.
James’ reaction to the no-call went viral, with scenes of him grabbing his wrist while yelling at the refs. James then laid down and pounded the floor with his hands, with defeat and frustration spread across his face and body.
Patrick Beverley, who had a clutch three-pointer and put-back dunk late, even received a technical foul for grabbing a DSLR camera from one of the photographers and bringing it over to show one of the refs the call that they had missed.
The Lakers couldn’t compete with the younger Celtics in overtime and were completely outplayed in every aspect.
James finished the game 15-of-30 from the field and 6-of-12 from three for 41 points to go along with nine rebounds and eight assists.
After the game, official Eric Lewis confirmed in a pool report that the crew missed Tatum's foul on James.
When speaking on the missed call, James said, “You saw my reaction. … It’s challenging. I don’t get it.”
Anthony Davis was even more forthright: “It’s bulls***. It’s unacceptable. … We got cheated tonight.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham added, "The best player on Earth can't get a call. It's amazing."
Tatum slyly sidestepped the question.
“The last two minutes and overtime was a blur,” he said. “…I don’t really know what happened. I gotta watch the game, watch the film, because everything was happening so fast, but we moved on and got the win. So that’s all I have to say about that.”
Tatum finished 8-for-25 from the field and 3-of-10 from three for 30 points along with 11 rebounds and four assists, playing 47 minutes.
The player of the game was Brown, though. He played the final 12 minutes with five fouls and scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting in that span. Brown also redeemed himself for his missed free throws against the Knicks by hitting the biggest shot of the game, a free throw to complete a game-tying and-1 seconds before the missed foul heard ‘round the world.
Brown finished the game 13-of-23 from the field and was 2-of-9 from three for 37 points, adding nine rebounds and three assists.
The Celtics-Lakers rivalry may not quite be what it used to be, but it was alive and thriving Saturday night, complete with controversy and all.