The Los Angeles Lakers can’t buy a whistle in the most critical moments of close ballgames.
For the third loss in a row, the NBA’s Last 2 Minute report went against the Lakers, in relation to how the refs handled situations that directly affected the final result.
The latest example comes from the Lakers’ 116-111 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday at Crypto.com Arena. Kendrick Nunn hit a contested three-pointer on De’Aaron Fox to put Los Angeles within one point with about eight seconds remaining. Fox makes contact with Nunn on his way up, which the NBA said should have sent Nunn to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game.
“Fox (SAC) steps forward and initiates contact with Nunn’s (LAL) body, which affects his jump shot attempt,” states the report.
Instead, the lack of a stoppage allowed the Kings to quickly inbound the ball and push it up-court, leading to a clear path foul on Lakers rookie Max Christie, which effectively sealed the deal for Sacramento.
Here’s footage of the sequence:
Here's the non-call on Fox, which was immediately followed by a clear-path foul on Max Christie that sealed the win for the Kings.
I'm sure this will make the Lakers and Lakers fans feel so much better. pic.twitter.com/Re6ioCX7mv
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) January 19, 2023
Last Friday, the NBA disclosed seven missed calls across the final two minutes of regulation and both overtimes in the Lakers’ excruciating loss to the Dallas Mavericks, including a non-call on LeBron James’ potentially game-winning layup at the end of regulation. LeBron made his feelings about the refs’ performance clear in the locker room after the game.
LeBron in the backgroundhttps://t.co/UuwxYJmnXx pic.twitter.com/vGJ0KXAAtR
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 13, 2023
On Saturday, Russell Westbrook blamed his last-possession snafu on contact made by Joel Embiid — a seemingly obvious foul that the NBA curiously stood by in the L2M (Westbrook said he was not aware of the report and was ready to move on after the team’s win over the Houston Rockets on Monday).
LeBron has questioned inconsistencies in officiating throughout the season and took to Twitter to reiterate his frustration on Monday.
Darvin Ham, for his part, has steadfastly dismissed the effect of the L2M’s on the team’s psyche and has largely avoided being overly critical of the refs. He has repeatedly — and accurately — noted that the Lakers have had plenty of chances throughout these games to avoid relying on refs in crunchtime.
Los Angeles, as losers of three of their last four, sits at 20-25, 13th in the Western Conference. But I’m sure the NBA’s belated transparency will make the Lakers and their fans feel just stellar.