The Los Angeles Lakers have lost three of their last four games and although their poor play in crunchtime is a big reason for that, officiating has also played a role.
Some unfortunate calls late in games have cost the Lakers, whether it be LeBron James being fouled in the final possession of overtime against the Dallas Mavericks or Joel Embiid grabbing Russell Westbrook’s arm in the final possession of the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers fell victim to another controversial call in Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Trailing by four in the final seconds, Kendrick Nunn drilled a 3 to make it a one-point game. He was bumped by De’Aaron Fox on the play and definitely believed it should’ve been a four-point play.
While Nunn was complaining to the officials, the Kings inbounded the ball to Fox, who found a teammate down the floor. Max Christie wound up taking a clear-path foul, which ended any chances of a Lakers comeback, suffering the defeat to their division rivals.
After the game, Nunn expressed displeasure with the officiating, believing it should’ve been a foul and one would’ve been called if the situations were reversed, via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
“He was pretty much under me as I was shooting. Under me. And that’s a foul,” Nunn told Southern California News Group after the game. “Anybody else do that, they’re calling a foul. If the role is reversed and I do that to Fox, they’re gonna call it a foul. So they missed that call, and it cost us the game.”
The NBA released its last two minute report the following day and the league admitted that Nunn was indeed fouled:
I know Laker fans are tired of hearing this, but the NBA’s L2M report says that Kendrick Nunn should’ve had a four-point play at the end of last night’s game. pic.twitter.com/8EqxhteHli
— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) January 19, 2023
The NBA last two minute report doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than to make fans angry, which has been the case for Lakers fans three of the last four games.
For a team that is 20-25 and trying to get back in the postseason mix, every win matters for the Lakers. But even though the officiating hasn’t been in their favor lately, they still need to be better so it doesn’t even get to the point where referees can decide a game.
As the losses continue to mount though, it’s not surprising to see players and fans also frustrated with the officiating as they continue to blow big calls late in games.
Max Christie gaining confidence from being in closing lineup
For the first time this season, Christie was in the closing lineup for the Lakers against the Kings as he had one of his best games. He spoke about how getting that opportunity has instilled confidence in him.
“Definitely a lot of confidence from my coaches and teammates trusting me to be out there in those type of crunchtime moments, especially in my rookie year. I can learn a lot of things just being out there and getting comfortable in those situations. But it’s definitely a confidence booster when I’m out there with those guys in that type of game.”
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