LeBron James said on social media that the loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday hurt. He was frustrated, confused and angry at the non-call on his last-second attempt that could have won the game for the LA Lakers.
The Lakers opened their five-game East Coast swing with a 125-121 overtime loss to their bitter rivals. On Tuesday night, his team was forced into yet another overtime game by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden but won 129-123.
Here’s James on the difference between the two overtime games:
“The difference between here and Boston is obviously self-explanatory. … The game was decided by the players. In Boston, the game was decided by the refs. It’s more demoralizing.”
At Boston, LeBron James and the Lakers had a 105-102 lead with under 10 seconds remaining in regulation. A questionable late call on a foul by Anthony Davis allowed Jaylen Brown to score three points an and-1 to tie the game.
On the last possession of regulation, James, who drove hard to the basket, was met by several Celtics players. As he soared to the basket for a layup, he was slapped on the wrist by Jayson Tatum, which the refs failed to call.
LeBron James and the entire Lakers bench went up in arms as the final buzzer for regulation sounded. They just couldn’t believe the officials missed that foul.
Anthony Davis pointedly told the media after the game that they were cheated. “King James” was almost at a loss for words after the Lakers lost.
In Tuesday's night’s game against the New York Knicks, the Lakers had a 114-108 advantage after LeBron James made a 3-pointer. The Knicks battled back, rattling six straight points to tie the game with 24 seconds left in the game.
Davis, who received a pass from James inside the paint, was called for an offensive foul against Jalen Brunson. New York failed to convert as AD and James swallowed Julius Randle’s last-second attempt.
Unlike the loss to the Celtics, there was no controversy this time around. The Lakers outscored the Knicks 15-9 in overtime to win the hard-fought game.
LeBron James and the LA Lakers are still stuck in the 13th spot in the Western Conference
The LA Lakers improved their standing to 24-28 after Tuesday's win over the New York Knicks. However, they’re only 5-5 in their last 10 games and remain stuck in 13th place in the tightly-contested Western Conference.
If not for missed calls, the Lakers could have had a better record than what they have now. LeBron James and his team can’t dwell on those games now as the battle for the last playoff spots heats up.
LA’s schedule doesn’t get easier to help them crawl their way up the standings. They will still be on the road for four games before the All-Star break. The Lakers will face the New Orleans Pelicans twice, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors before a league-wide respite happens.
If they’re not careful, they could be in even deeper trouble for the rest of the season. The Lakers are only two games behind the Utah Jazz for the 10th and final play-in spot. If LeBron James and Anthony Davis healthy, they’ll like their chances against any team for a postseason berth.