The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors 115-113 on Monday night. The loss was not without controversy.
On one hand, there is an argument to be made that LA deserved its fate for choking away a game that seemed won, especially after what Steve Kerr said about the team in the lead-up. Golden State trailed by as many 19 points in the outing, and the blown lead is the largest a LeBron James-led group has ever given up.
On the other hand, the refs clearly dropped the ball in this one.
With the Lakers down by two and roughly two minutes remaining in the game, Draymond Green caught a bounce pass from Stephen Curry and blatantly traveled. Even though absolutely everyone saw it, the refs didn’t call it. Instead, they allowed Green to score on the play.
Draymond Green gets away with a travel and lays it in pic.twitter.com/tfGwmzrdRz
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) January 19, 2021
mind boggling that the refs would see the clear LeBron travel, and then miss the even clearer Draymond travel. pic.twitter.com/M6gzX2DM4F
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 19, 2021
Had the officials made the correct call on that sequence, the Lakers would’ve gotten the ball back down two instead of four. A quick score and the game would’ve been even. A four-point swing in what turned out to be a two-point win is pretty significant.
After the game, during a Zoom call with the media, James alluded to how the calls in the game ultimately influenced the pace and the final result.
“We had some tough breaks, some tough calls against us in the second half that kind of slowed our pace down,” he said. “We couldn’t get back into a rhythm … and they did a great job of countering that. Something we can learn from. And it’s always great to have games like that.”
James also specifically cited frustration with how travel was called throughout the game. He had been called for what was admittedly a pretty blatant travel, but Green’s was excused.
LeBron on frustration w/ traveling calls (question by @billoram): “It’s so funny because the very next play Draymond gets into the lane & slides his foot & it’s not called & the same official called me for the travel is right there on the play & told me he didn’t travel…” pic.twitter.com/7kf45F6Rav
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) January 19, 2021
“It’s so funny because the very next play, Draymond gets into the lane and slides his foot and it’s not called and the same official called me for the travel is right there on the play and told me he didn’t travel,” James mused.
Bad calls are commonplace in all sports. Heck, the Kansas City Chiefs got into the AFC Championship Game this past weekend thanks to officiating assistance. So this isn’t just a basketball problem. That said, the onus is on the leagues to do something about this matter.
Whenever weak officiating shifts the outcomes of games, the integrity of the entire sporting event is suddenly thrown into question.
Yikes. It’s a wrap for Jackie MacMullan.https://t.co/lIFTuBiJtc
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.