LeBron James rips officiating, replay center after overturned call in Lakers’ loss to Nuggets

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LeBron James rips officiating, replay center after overturned call in Lakers’ loss to Nuggets

LeBron James ripped the officiating Monday following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 101-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series, specifically calling out a third-quarter shooting foul the NBA’s replay center overturned.

“I don’t understand what’s going on in the replay center, to be honest,” James said.

The play in question came in the final minute of the third quarter, with Los Angeles up by 10 in a game it would lose on Jamal Murray’s buzzer-beater. Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. was whistled for a foul after his arm swiped across the face of a driving D’Angelo Russell. Nuggets coach Michael Malone challenged the play and the NBA’s replay center in Secaucus, N.J., ruled Porter made “marginal” contact with Russell.

“D-Lo clearly gets hit in the face on a drive,” James said. “What the f— do we have a replay center for if it’s going to go (like that)? It doesn’t make sense to me. It makes no sense to me. It bothers me.”

In a close game that ended with Denver taking a 2-0 series lead, James wasn’t the only Laker to mention officiating postgame. Russell took to X to call out the play, while Lakers coach Darvin Ham said officiating seems to be different in the playoffs.

“Some tough calls. Some tough non-calls. But you can’t use any of that as an excuse,” Ham said. “You got to go out there and be ready to make plays whether the whistle gets blown or not.

“It’s getting real tricky — you go through the season, games being officiated one way, and then you get to the playoffs, and I guess it’s left up to the interpretation of the three individual guys that’s doing the job out there.”

James, who had 26 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds in the loss, has criticized the NBA’s replay center before. In December, he ripped the decision to rule a potential game-tying 3-point attempt a 2 after a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Somebody over there eating a ham sandwich or (something) made the call,” James said.



Lakers blow big lead vs. Nuggets in Game 2, which felt like a death blow

Including Monday, Denver has won 10 straight games over the Lakers. The Lakers will host Game 3 in Los Angeles on Thursday and hope to make this a series.

“They did what they were supposed to do,” Ham said. “They held serve. Again, it’s not the first to one, two or three, it’s the first to four. We just got to go home and do the same.”

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(Photo: Ron Chenoy / USA Today)