LeBron James and Lakers left frustrated after missed foul call in OT loss to Celtics
Published in Basketball
BOSTON — The road trips have been long, the games have been stacked and, inside the Los Angeles Lakers’ locker room, the eyes have been droopier. The NBA schedule is long — the comparisons to a marathon too accurate for them to be fully dismissed as merely a cliche.
But the Lakers — they’re lucky, lucky to be in Boston on Saturday to fight the Boston Celtics, one of the NBA’s best rivalries pitting them against one of the NBA’s best teams in one of the NBA’s best environments.
They’re lucky, because even in a 125-121 overtime loss, their 50th game of the season, the Lakers’ decision makers can see what this team is. And, more importantly, what this team isn’t.
LeBron James, looking more and more like a player who will smash through the NBA’s all-time scoring record next week, dominated the game with scoring, rebounding and passing. He finished with 41 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The team, which got Anthony Davis back from injury and had Rui Hachimura available for the first time Wednesday, added Lonnie Walker IV to the rotation on Saturday after he missed the previous 14 games.
And with Patrick Beverley in rhythm and Thomas Bryant and Dennis Schroder fully integrated after thumb surgeries delayed their debuts, a more complete picture of the Lakers’ possibilities is being painted.
Beverley, in particular, had a huge effect on the game, helping harass Jayson Tatum before hitting a go-ahead three and a go-ahead dunk in the final minute of regulation.
Still, the cracks are there.
The team didn’t get a key whistle at the end of regulation when LeBron James attacked the rim, and the fallout carried into overtime. After the play, James hopped up and down on the court, stunned he didn’t get the call.
“As much as you try not to put it on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “…Apparently, I used my challenge too soon.”
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