LeBron James on officials missing another crucial call against him: "I'm attacking the paint just as much as any of the other guys"
LeBron James sounded off about officiating against him after the referees missed another call that should've gone his way during the LA Lakers' 125-121 OT loss to the Boston Celtics. James drove to the basket on the final possession of the regulation period with the score tied at 105-105.
However, he missed the layup after Jayson Tatum smacked his arm. It was an evident foul, but the referees didn't call it, sending the game into overtime. James cut a dejected figure after the loss. Here's what he told reporters:
"It's challenging, really challenging. I don't get it. I'm attacking the paint just as much as any of the other guys in this league shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don't get it. I don't understand it."
James' claims are backed by statistics. The four-time MVP is averaging 6.2 attempts per game this season. Meanwhile, other stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Luka Doncic, who drive the ball to the rim frequently, are averaging at least 10 free throw attempts per game.
That's been the case with LeBron James for majority of his career. James makes 9.5 drives per game but only has 1.8 free throw attempts on those drives. Due to his 6'9" 250 lbs frame, teams relentlessly throw multiple bodies at him when he attacks the rim, so the disparity in the free throw attempts is indeed questionable.
LeBron James and LA Lakers drop four games in the last two weeks to refereeing blunders
The LA Lakers have been at a disadvantage of late with crunch-time foul calls not being called. Before the incident in the loss against the Boston Celtics, the Lakers faced a similar situation against the Sacramento Kings on January 18. Kendrick Nunn, who the Lakers recently traded for Rui Hachimura, was fouled on a 3-point play.
Nunn would've had the chance to tie the game if the Lakers awarded him the shooting foul. De'Aaron Fox made illegal contact with Nunn on the play, but the referees didn't call it. The NBA's officiating last two-minute report stated that Nunn got fouled on the play.
On January 15, during the Lakers' 113-112 OT loss against the Philadelphia 76ers, Russell Westbrook got fouled on the last possession by Joel Embiid, according to the official report. However, there was no call on the floor.
Embiid grabbed Westbrook's wrist as the latter drove to the basket. The foul altered Westbrook's layup attempt, leading to a miss. If called, it would've resulted in Westbrook going to the line to shoot two free throws.
LeBron James was on the receiving end of another no-call on January 12 against the Dallas Mavericks. The game ended in a 119-115 double-OT loss for the LA Lakers. James drove to the basket on the last play of the first overtime and was fouled by Christian Wood, per the NBA's official last two-minute report.
If Wood hadn't made illegal contact, James would've likely made the shot and won the game for the Lakers. James would've had to make one of two attempts to seal the win if the foul had been called.
The chief official in charge during the Lakers-Celtics game, Eric Lewis, also admitted that his crew missed the play and Jayson Tatum fouled LeBron James.