In that game, the Lakers lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 113-112, but they had a chance to win when guard Russell Westbrook drove to the basket with just seconds remaining. Unfortunately, he couldn’t convert. Following the game, Westbrook made it clear that he believed he had been fouled by 76ers star Joel Embiid on the final play.
Embiid disagreed with Westbrook’s declaration, and the league ended up coming to the same conclusion.
“Embiid (PHI) slightly extends his arm before retracting it and marginal arm contact occurs with Westbrook (LAL) during the driving shot attempt,” the report explained.
After James saw the report, he took to social media to express his anger with the conclusion.
And all year they keep telling me to my face on the court, “I didn’t see it” or “It wasn’t a foul”. It’s not making sense to me seriously! Frustrating as hell man! Anyways keep going Squad! 💜💛👑 https://t.co/tsrlXtJjuO
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 16, 2023
Though the league has now officially stated that the referees made the right decision to not call a foul, James and Lakers fans alike don’t seem likely to simply accept that.
After all, when looking at the play itself, it becomes pretty clear why Westbrook said that he was fouled.
Looks like Joel Embiid got pure wrist on that final possession against Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/8zqIZh9St2
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) January 16, 2023
This comes just days after James was clearly fouled on a game-winning attempt against the Dallas Mavericks in overtime. The Last Two Minute Report for that game revealed that James was indeed fouled on his drive to the basket.
Mistakes are made, and referees making the wrong decisions is nothing new to sports. However, the recent officiating issues that have plagued the Lakers have been magnified for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that these incidents have occurred in the waning seconds of games, highlighting their importance. The second reason is that the Lakers are currently fighting to keep their season alive, and every game counts.
At current, the Lakers are 19-24 on the season and sitting at the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference.