The NBA referees union said officials should have awarded LeBron James with a foul call and free throw attempts in the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday in Boston. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The National Basketball Referees Association said officials made a mistake in their decision to not cite Jayson Tatum for a foul on LeBron James late in the Boston Celtics' recent win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The union tweeted about the matter Sunday night, in reference to the call in the final seconds of the Celtics' 125-121 overtime victory Saturday in Boston. They called the mistake "gut-wrenching."
"Like everyone else, referees make mistakes," the union tweeted. "We made one at the end of [Saturday'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."
Saturday's game featured 19 lead changes and was tied 15 times. Star forward Jaylen Brown tied the score with a made free throw with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Lakers then took control for the final possession of regulation.
Lakers guard Dennis Schroder started the play with an inbound pass to James, who caught the ball at the top of the 3-point arc. James then dribbled and cut through a crowd of defenders in the paint before he took flight. James put the ball high in his left hand to finish the play. Tatum then smacked James on the left wrist, which hindered his ability to make the potential game-winning shot.
James jumped, pointed to his wrist and screamed for a foul call after the sequence, but nearby referees did not blow their whistles. The Celtics went on to outscore the Lakers 20-16 in overtime to secure the victory.
''I don't understand," James told reporters. "I don't understand what we're doing, and I watch basketball every single day. I watch games every single day and I don't see it happening to nobody else. It's just weird."
James scored a game-high 41 points, with six 3-pointers, nine rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Brown led the Celtics with 37 points and logged nine rebounds. Tatum totaled 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
The Lakers (23-27) will battle the Brooklyn Nets (30-19) at 7:30 p.m. EST Monday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Celtics (36-15) will host the Nets on Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston.