NBA admits missed call on LeBron James’ potential game-winning drive

The NBA and the association of referees already admitted their miscall at the end of the Lakers-Celtics game (NBA Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

For the second time this month, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) referees revealed that they failed in making the right call again after the heated game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics last January 29, 2023.

With the game deadlocked at 105-all and the Lakers with the final possession, head coach Darvin Ham drew up a play to free up LeBron James on the left side of the court.

After receiving the ball, James immediately drove hard to the basket, missed the layup, but cried foul as he jumped up and down after the sequence.

The NBA then flashed several angles of the play heading into the overtime and showed Jayson Tatum slapping James’ left arm which caused him to miss the potential game winning layup.

If the baseline referee blew the whistle on Tatum, James would’ve made a trip to the charity stripe with 1.3 seconds remaining in the game.

The Celtics then waxed hot in the extra five minutes and spoiled James’ monster game after dropping 41 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

After the game, the whole Lakers organization quickly threw shades at the officiating crew that managed the showdown.

“We don’t have room for error. And it’s one of the best games we played all year. For it to fall on somebody else’s judgment, or non-judgment, it’s just ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” expressed James.

It didn’t take much time for the NBA and the committee of referees to admit their mistake, saying that a foul should’ve been called on James.

“Like everyone else, referees make mistakes. 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,” the official Twitter handle of the “NBA Referees” posted.

This is the second time that the NBA admitted a crucial missed call in the last seconds of an intense game.

The first one was last January 4, 2023, when Donovan Mitchell wasn’t called for a lane violation that helped the Cleveland Cavaliers force overtime against the Chicago Bulls.

With 4.7 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers trailing by three points, 130-127, the superstar shooting guard calmly sank his first free throw to cut their deficit to just two points.

Needing a miracle to force overtime, Mitchell pulled the tricks up his sleeve and intentionally missed his second shot which he followed up for the game-tying deuce.

The NBA referees then revealed that Mitchell stepped over the plane of the free throw line before the ball touched the basket ring which was a clear lane violation.

Mitchell would continue piling up the points and inked his name in the NBA history books after tallying 71 points, tying Elgin Baylor and David Robinson in the sixth-place in the league’s single-game scoring record.