AP – The National Basketball Referees Association said early yesterday that LeBron James was fouled on the last play of regulation in the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Boston Celtics.
The NBA office also confirmed for the second time that a foul should have been called.
“Like everyone else, referees make mistakes,” the union wrote in its tweet. “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.”
James got the ball about 35 feet from the basket, with 4.1 seconds remaining in what was a tied game at Boston on Saturday night.
He split two defenders as he got into the lane, then went airborne and got past Jayson Tatum as well. James laid the ball up with his left hand, Tatum clearly made contact with James’ shooting arm, no foul was called and the game went to overtime.
Had a foul been called, James would have gone to the free-throw line with an opportunity to put the Lakers ahead with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The Celtics wound up winning the game in overtime, 125-121.
“We got cheated tonight, honestly… It’s unacceptable,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said after the game.
The NBA acknowledged shortly after the game that a foul should have been called and reaffirmed that in the report detailing calls made and missed in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime.