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LeBron James Calls Out NBA Refs After Late Lonzo Ball Foul on Russell Westbrook

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 18, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives past Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James expressed his displeasure with a late whistle against teammate Lonzo Ball that helped send L.A.'s game with the Oklahoma City Thunder into overtime Thursday.

With three seconds remaining in regulation and the Lakers up 122-119, Ball was called for a shooting foul on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who then sank three free throws to tie the game.

James, who is out with a strained groin suffered Christmas Day, tweeted the following remarks:

LeBron James @KingJames

So what really is “in the shooting motion” rule?!?!? Asking for a friend @OfficialNBARefs 🤔

After the game, NBA referee Tom Washington spoke with a pool reporter regarding the call. The official admitted the decision was incorrect but could not be reviewed:

NBA Official @NBAOfficial

NBA Referee Tom Washington Comments to Pool Reporter after Lakers – Thunder Game https://t.co/1w8VZE0XlD

The foul was clear, but the question is whether it was on the floor. If the referees deemed that the foul occurred before the shot, then Westbrook would have gone to the line for just two shots. Instead, the Thunder point guard hit three to force the extra frame.

The call ended up being much ado about nothing as the Lakers won in overtime 138-128, but what's most interesting is that the four-time NBA MVP tweeted at the official NBA referees account. In a bit of foreshadowing, that account will be interacting with Twitter users during future games, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

The first contest on the docket this season for the tweeting referee account will be the Lakers' home game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday. James likely won't be back for that one, so it will be noteworthy as to whether he (or any other player) gets into a conversation with the NBA officials' Twitter during matchups.

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