LeBron James exploded in fury after a last-gasp three pointer to tie the Lakers’ game vs. Minnesota was ruled out after officials said his foot was on the three-point line.
The Lakers trailed the Timberwolves by three points with just 2.3 seconds remaining when James’ shot found its home.
But the 39-year-old’s birthday celebrations soon turned into rage after the officials ruled it only as a two-pointer, leaving the Wolves up 107-106. The play was reviewed, only for the call on the floor to stand.
LeBron then spotted a replay of his shot on a courtside screen, which appeared to show his foot being on the three-point line by a razor-thin margin, although differing angles suggest otherwise.
‘It’s obviously a three – my foot is behind the line,’ said James, who was almost ruled out of Saturday’s game with COVID-19 illness. ‘You can see the space between the front of my foot and the three point line. You can clearly see the wood on the floor – there’s a space between the front of my foot and the three point line. Stevie Wonder can see that, champ!’
The four-time NBA champion also voiced his annoyance at the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, describing the call as ‘frustration’.
‘[NBA referee] Tony Brothers did not have [an explanation] but I did not talk to TB I talked to the other ref and he said it was out of their hands,’ LeBron further said. ‘The Secaucus – over there in the replay center or whatever, somebody over there eating a ham sandwich or somebody made the call. It’s super frustrating in the sense that what the hell have we got a replay for?
‘What do we have a replay for if even a replay gets it wrong? Who is a part of the replay center? Have we got robots in there that are making the Teslas – what’s going on, if you don’t see that? That is clear.
‘Even if the shot is released and my foot is on the line afterwards, it doesn’t matter… it’s from when I shot the ball and it’s clear – everyone can see it.
‘It doesn’t make sense and that’s a tied game, we’re fighting for our a***es and we’re playing the No. 1 team in the West right now. That’s frustrating.’
T-Wolves guard Anthony Edwards then drew a foul with 1.1 seconds remaining and made one of two free throws to give his team a two-point cushion to finish the game with a scoreline of 108-106 in Minnesota’s favor.
LeBron registered 26 points on 10-for-21 shooting on his 39th birthday. No other Lakers player scored in double digits besides Anthony Davis, who led the Lakers with 33 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists. Davis also had four steals and a pair of blocked shots for the Lakers, who fell to 0-2 against Minnesota this season.
Edwards, 22, scored 31 points for Minnesota while Naz Reid added another 21 off the bench. Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Timberwolves overcame 19 turnovers to win for the fourth time in five games. They are now 14-1 at home this season.
However, the Lakers have lost seven of 10 since winning the In-Season Tournament. They face the New Orleans Pelicans next on Sunday, while the T-Wolves play the New York Knicks on Monday.