The Lakers and the fans were rightly angry after a crucial missed call contributed to a loss against the Celtics. But there was nothing darker at work here.
You’ve probably seen the video. LeBron drives and gets hit on the arm by Jayson Tatum. No call is made. LeBron goes berserk, leaping in the air, looking for intervention before falling to the floor in frustration. Patrick Beverley, passive-aggressive rather than aggressive-aggressive, grabs a photographer’s camera and tries to show the referees what they missed.
In the end, nothing changed and the Lakers took a 125-121 loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers and the fans were furious and they had every right to be. The league’s Last 2 Minute Report confirmed it was an incorrect no-call. It was bad enough that the NBA referees apologized through the official Twitter account of their union.
But it was just a terribly timed coincidence.
There is no anti-Lakers conspiracy among NBA refs
Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports combed through all the Last 2 Minute Reports for Lakers’ games this year and found that, generally, they’ve benefited from incorrect calls far more than they’ve suffered from them this season.
An industrious NBA Redditor took things one step further and compared those counts to a few other teams, finding the Lakers got incorrect calls in their favor a lot more often than most other teams, Not all of those calls are of equal significance but if you’re inclined to believe in a vast refereeing conspiracy, there’s more evidence of the Lakers benefiting from said conspiracy, rather than being punished by it.
Another wild fact making the rounds after Sunday night was that the Celtics were 39-2 in games refereed by the head official for the game against the Lakers. It turns out that was completely made up, and not based on anything.
Long story short — the Lakers lost a game because of a bad call. But it was an unfortunate coincidence, not an elaborate conspiracy.
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