LeBron James Slams Referees For Overturning A Clear Foul On D’Angelo Russell: “What The F*** Do We Have A Replay Center For?”

LeBron James was frustrated with the referees overturning a clear foul from Michael Porter Jr. on D’Angelo Russell during the Lakers 99-101 Game 2 loss.
LeBron James Slams Referees For Overturning A Clear Foul On D'Angelo Russell: "What The F*** Do We Have A Replay Center For?"

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James expressed his disappointment over the refereeing during the Lakers’ 99-101 loss to the Nuggets in Game 2 of the first round. He highlighted a play where Michael Porter Jr. smacked D’Angelo Russell in the face, where the foul call was overturned after a challenge, perplexing James.

“I don’t understand what’s going on in the replay center, to be honest. What f— do we have a replay center for? It makes no sense to me… What are we doing?”

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LeBron also commented on the state of the game in general, calmly discussing how 20-point leads aren’t safe in the modern NBA, especially when you’re facing the defending champions.

“We know they are a great offensive-power team. We know they’re going to get into a rhythm at some point, we know they’re gonna make runs, especially on the home floor. We just have to withstand it, and I think we didn’t. 20-point leads in this league is not safe, especially against the defending champion. We gotta do better with that. We had our chances.”

James ended the night with 26 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists, taking the brunt of the offensive load in the fourth quarter of the game. He hit a few big shots but ultimately missed a wide-open three which could have given the Lakers the breathing room they needed to pull this win off.

The Lakers will now head back to LA for Games 3 and 4, where they’ll hope they can defend homecourt as the Nuggets did and hopefully return to Denver for Game 5 with the series being tied.

The Lakers Still Look Unclear About Their Plans On The Floor

These Lakers vs. Nuggets games follow an identical script. The Lakers are competitive through three quarters, even taking big leads over this period. However, the second the fourth quarter starts, the Nuggets find a way to come back into the game and clinch the win. That’s what happened tonight again.

After the game, Anthony Davis condemned stretches of games where the team is unclear about what they’re trying to do on the court.

“We have stretches where we don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.”

Rui Hachimura had made a similar complaint before the start of Game 2, lamenting how the team doesn’t know what they need to beat the Nuggets.

“They watch us a lot. We’ve played them so many times in the last year, they know what we exactly do. We’ve got to do well as a team defense, they don’t give us many options… I think we gotta play together more, I got to be more active, sharing the ball, and all that. I think that’s going to help us this year.”

All fingers are pointing back to Lakers head coach Darvin Ham, who clearly is struggling to match up with Michael Malone’s coaching prowess. The Lakers played a lot of freelance-ball tonight, with James unilaterally creating offense for himself and his teammates. He had 11 assists through the first three quarters before he dialed in on being a scorer in the fourth quarter.

This series looks to be over already, though the Lakers have once again shown that they have the ingredients to beat the Lakers. It’s a question of if they can use the ingredients to create the meal they need or whether they get burned again.

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