The Los Angeles Lakers have been on the wrong end of some high-profile officiating miscues of late. The most recent was LeBron James clearly getting fouled by Jayson Tatum on a game-winning layup attempt against the Boston Celtics on Saturday (which the Last Two Minute Report confirmed the following day), only to have the refs swallow their whistle and allow the game to go into overtime, where the Lakers lost.
LeBron James was clearly fouled with a chance to win the Lakers-Celtics game, but the refs didn't call it. He was not happy. 🏀 pic.twitter.com/Y5kBjTHg1o— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 29, 2023
A few weeks earlier, James was burned by a no-call on another potential game-winning layup attempt in a double-overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks; the Last Two Minute Report confirmed that Christian Wood indeed hacked LeBron with the score tied and the final seconds ticking down at the end of the first overtime.
The play referenced in the L2M from last night’s Lakers-Mavs game, for those who missed out. pic.twitter.com/MbJJ310k0O— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) January 13, 2023
This is why LeBron was so livid after the missed call in Boston. He didn't see it as a one-off. He saw it, and surely continues to see it, as a pattern of the Lakers being disproportionately wronged by these late-game missed calls.
"It's been building," James said of his frustration. "You guys have seen some of the games we've lost this year with late-game missed calls. We had an opportunity to literally win the game. ... I don't understand what we're doing. I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single day, and I don't see it happening to nobody else. It's just weird."
It begs the question: Is LeBron right? Are the Lakers actually getting burned more often than other teams? Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports decided to investigate James' claims by digging into every Last Two Minute Report issued this season, and on Tuesday he released his findings.
Turns out, LeBron is wrong.
According to Rohrbach's report, the Lakers have been involved in 34 incorrect calls/non-calls in the last two minutes this season, and 21 of them have gone in their favor. That's more than 28 other teams. Indeed, only the Mavericks have had more total incorrect whistles go their way, with 23.
Put another way, of the 34 incorrect late-game calls that have impacted a Lakers game, 61.8 percent of them have benefitted the Lakers. Only the Clippers, at 63.2 percent, have had better late-game luck.
Ask, and you shall receive: I reviewed every L2M report for every team, and here is the data (in which LAL is 2nd only to LAC in percentage of late-game missed calls/no-calls in their favor): @YahooSportsNBA: https://t.co/IQaUnIarmC pic.twitter.com/6j9RDctohW— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) January 31, 2023
Kudos to Rohrbach for doing the dirty work of digging through these reports. A lot of people, myself included, were starting to buy into LeBron's case when in fact we were being clouded by the high-profile ones that are most recent in our memory.