LOS ANGELES — Russell Westbrook said he was fouled by Joel Embiid. The Philadelphia center said he didn’t think he fouled anyone on the Lakers’ final offensive play of Sunday’s game, which the NBA upheld on Monday in its day-after Last Two Minute Report.
And LeBron James? He said the NBA’s ruling didn’t make sense to him and took to Twitter to share his frustration with the league’s officiating.
“And all year they keep telling me to my face on the court, ‘I didn’t see it’ or ‘It wasn’t a foul,’” James wrote Monday afternoon. “It’s not making sense to me seriously! Frustrating as hell man!”
The 76ers led 113-112 and the Lakers had the final possession. With 3.2 seconds left to play, Westbrook decided to go one-on-one with Embiid instead of passing to James. He drove to the rim and lofted the ball, which hit the backboard and Philadelphia grabbed the ball as the buzzer sounded.
Westbrook said after the game he “couldn’t get my hand up to shoot because (Embiid) was grabbing it.”
Embiid disagreed, saying “I don’t think I fouled him. Physical play on both sides. You could have called a foul on the other end, too, on the bump. So, it goes both ways.” He added that Westbrook simply was “unlucky” because he lost the ball earlier in the possession before picking up his dribble.
The league stood by the officials’ non-call on Embiid in its Two Minute Report, saying “Embiid slightly extends his arm before retracting it and marginal arm contact occurs with Westbrook during the driving shot attempt.”
Video replays show contact, but apparently not enough to warrant a foul that might have resulted in a Lakers victory if Westbrook had made the free throws.
James had quoted a fan’s tweet that said the NBA has a “huge scandal” and the league office is “altering their own definition of the rules, their own guidelines to tell fans to believe them instead of our own eyes on Game Deciding Plays!”
A theory on why the Lakers keep struggling in crunch time
Game Day: Lakers, Clippers at a turning point
Lakers suffer another disappointing finish against 76ers
Lakers’ LeBron James passes 38,000-point mark, closing in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Lakers work out DeMarcus Cousins, Meyers Leonard as they mull big man depth
In the Lakers’ previous game against Dallas on Thursday, per the Two Minute Report, the NBA stood by a no-call on Troy Brown’s shot at the end of regulation that would have sent him to the foul line, but said that James was fouled by Christian Wood at the end of the first overtime and Luka Doncic should have been called for a foul on Wenyen Gabriel when he corralled James’ miss.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham refused to be drawn into the controversy and said the officials are “not trying to screw up.
“They are trying to get it right. There’s still a level of human error involved – me in coaching, the players playing the right way, the officials officiating the right way. There’s human error in all of that.”
Evaluation on the status of Austin Reaves (hamstring) and Lonnie Walker IV (knee) is still a few days out, Ham said.
“We’ll see. Probably about another couple, few days,” he said.