LAKERS

LeBron James’ NSFW take on controversial no-call in Lakers’ loss vs. Mavs

Tim Hardaway Jr., closing hard, made contact with Brown’s hand and shoulder moments after the release, causing the shot to fall well short.

LeBron James was not happy about a critical no-call at the end of regulation in the Los Angeles Lakers’ double-overtime 119-115 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at Crypto.com Arena.

After Luka Doncic — who put up 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists in 53(!) minutes — tied the game with a 3-pointer with six seconds left in the fourth quarter (a controversial play unto itself, as Darvin Ham opted not to foul with his team up 3, a decision he stood by), Lakers wing Troy Brown Jr. had an opportunity to win the game on a 3 as time expired.

Tim Hardaway Jr., closing hard, made contact with Brown’s hand and shoulder moments after the release, causing the shot to fall well short. Much to the dismay of seemingly everybody in the arena, including the Lakers, the refs swallowed their whistles.

The Mavs (24-19) outscored the Lakers (19-23), 18-14, in the two extra periods.

Afterward, referee Josh Tiven explained that because Hardaway initially made contact with the ball before legal “high-five” contact, there was no foul on the play.

In the Lakers’ locker room, Brown was asked about Tiven’s explanation. Before he could give a diplomatic non-answer, LeBron could be overheard exclaiming “that’s a f*cking foul!”

“It’s a foul,” LeBron continued. “No matter what (Troy) says, it’s a f*cking foul. That s*it is blatant, and they should have called it.”

When asked minutes later in his postgame presser about his feelings on the non-call after being overheard giving his NSFW take, LeBron curtly replied: “Obviously.”

LeBron finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists in a grueling 47 minutes, though he missed 17 of his 28 field goal attempts (0-of-6 in the OTs), including all seven of his 3s, continuing his career-worst struggles from distance in 2022-23. (Ham told ClutchPoints that he didn’t regret pushing his players to the limit and keeping the same lineup out there for both OTs.)

Ham said that while he’s “not in the business of criticizing” the refs, he thought it was “clear as day” that Brown should’ve been awarded three free throws (both teams struggled from the stripe: Los Angeles shot 19-of-27, the Mavs converted 9-of-17).

“It looked like a foul on his follow-through,” Ham added, before stressing that the Lakers had plenty of opportunities to win the game without relying on last-second calls. Los Angeles shot 10-of-40 from 3 and fell behind by 19 in the first half — the latest instance of the Lakers being plagued by early deficits. Crunch-time inexecution remains a glaring problem.

In general, it was not the finest officiating performance. Folks with both teams, namely Luka and LeBron, were frustrated with the refs throughout the tense affair. LeBron thought he was fouled on a potential game-winning layup at the end of OT1. (James has complained about the refs multiple times this season.)

Lakers Twitter was incensed about whistles all night, while Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted in support of comments TNT’s Stan Van Gundy made on air questioning the officiating. Luka only attempted seven free throws.

“I have no comments on that,” Luka said when asked about the refs. “I don’t want to get fined.”

All eyes will be on the NBA’s Last 2 Minute Report when it’s released on Friday.

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