Lakers’ LeBron James Brutally Rips Into NBA Refs After Game 2 Loss

LeBron James, Lakers, NBA Playoffs
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Lakers faced a tall task in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. After defeating the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA Play-In Tournament, their reward was the No. 7 seed and a first-round matchup facing off against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

Coming into the series, the Lakers had lost eight straight games to the Nuggets, including a sweep in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. That streak is now up to 10 games as Denver has gone up 2-0 in the series.

Game 2 was an especially brutal defeat. Los Angeles looked like they may have figured something out to snap their losing streak. They led by as many as 20 points in the game and had control throughout.

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But, when the game got tight in the fourth quarter, it was the Nuggets who were able to execute and steal victory away from the jaws of defeat. They outscored Los Angeles 32-20 in the fourth quarter en route to a 101-99 win on a buzzer-beater from Jamal Murray.

The only time the Nuggets led before that point was in the first quarter when they held a 3-0 lead. The Lakers dominated throughout, yet after the game, the focus for LeBron James was on the referees.

James was discussing a play when a foul by Michael Porter Jr. on D’Angelo Russell was overturned during replay. He didn’t agree with that and even made mention of some of the calls that were overturned in the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks.

“I don’t understand what’s going on in the replay center, to be honest… It makes no sense to me… Then I just saw what happened with the Sixers/Knicks game too, what are we doing?” James said via Spectrum SportsNet on X.

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A foul looked like it should have been called on Porter, who hit Russell in the face. A legitimate gripe can be had on that play, but the Lakers are rarely on the wrong side of a whistle. If there is any team in the NBA that doesn’t have a gripe when it comes to complaining about foul calls it is them, as they led the league in a landslide in free throw disparity.

Blaming the referees for one missed call in a game where a 20-point lead was blown is a bit weak. James missing the go-ahead 3-pointer on the Lakers’ last possession of the game or Anthony Davis going scoreless in the fourth quarter was as impactful as the Porter overturn.

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