LeBron James would like the referees to start backing up their words with their whistles. Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ (2-9) 114-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday — their ninth straight L to their Crypto.com Arena co-tenants — LeBron used his postgame media session to criticize the way he’s being officiated. It was the second straight postgame press conference in which he has done so. (He sat out Monday’s loss to the Utah Jazz due to foot soreness, so he didn’t do media.)
“I love physicality,” LeBron insisted. “But I would also love for the whistle to be blown when I get hit. I mean, four free throws once again. I look at a lot of guys tonight, shooting a lot of jump shots, and they going nine, 13 times to the free throw line. I gotta learn how to flop or something. Seriously. I need to learn how to do that. Swipe my head back or do something to get to the free throw line. Cause the ‘I missed it’ is getting repetitive. Three straight games of ‘I missed it.'”
LeBron says he “seriously” has to learn how to flop because he’s tired of hearing “I missed it” from the refs. He talked about this on Sunday, too. pic.twitter.com/B6peKoIBgz
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) November 10, 2022
LeBron is presumably referring to Norman Powell and Paul George, who led the game with seven and nine free throw attempts, respectively. (Let’s put the flop comment aside for the time being. Yes, LeBron once garnered the moniker “LeFlop” for his tendency to sell contact, but he has largely dropped that from his repertoire in recent seasons.)
After the Lakers’ defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, LeBron similarly claimed that he has heard the officials say they’ve “missed it” for the past three years regarding non-calls on his drives to the cup.
“At one point tonight, I had 22 points and 20 of ’em were in the paint,” LeBron said Sunday when asked about his interior production. “Last game, I got bumped, knocked off the path a few times, and at halftime, the refs came to me and told me they missed it. And that’s kind of been what they’ve been telling me over the last couple years: They just missed it.”
When asked if he thinks the trend will change this season, LeBron curtly replied: “Nah.”
Here’s the clip of LeBron on the refs. He does not seem pleased about how he’s been officiated the past few seasons. pic.twitter.com/ufl2KShIQQ
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) November 7, 2022
LeBron, 37, is averaging 4.9 free throws per game in 2022-23, well below the average for his career (7.8) and across his first four seasons with the Lakers (6.2). He’s shooting 68.2 percent from the charity stripe.
LeBron James finished with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting, eight rebounds, and five assists. He was 4-of-9 from 3 and 2-of-4 from the line. He left the contest midway through the fourth quarter with a groin injury.