LeBron James was visibly frustrated with the officiating crew on Wednesday night after they failed to call a kick-ball violation against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker in the final seconds of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 112-107 loss.
With the Lakers down by three points and the game winding down, James drove to the basket and appeared to be fouled by Booker. However, the referees did not call a foul, and Booker was able to gather the rebound and secure the win for the Suns.
Replays of the play showed that Booker clearly kicked the ball out of bounds with his foot before James touched him. However, the referees did not review the play, and the call stood.
James was irate after the game, and he let the referees know about it. “That was a clear kick-ball,” James said. “I don’t know how they missed that call. It’s just frustrating.”
James’ frustration was understandable. The kick-ball violation was a clear-cut call, and it had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. If the referees had called the foul, the Lakers would have had a chance to tie the game or take the lead.
The missed call was just one of several questionable calls that the referees made throughout the game. James and the Lakers were on the wrong end of several close calls, and they felt like they were not getting a fair shake from the officials.
“I’m not sure what else we could have done to get the refs to call that foul,” James said. “We were fouled on that play, plain and simple. It’s just frustrating that it wasn’t called.”
The Lakers will need to put this loss behind them and move on. However, they will likely be thinking about the missed kick-ball violation for a long time.