Darvin Ham, like every other member of the Lakers, left TD Garden in utter disbelief Saturday night.
Los Angeles was robbed of a potential victory in its primetime matchup with the NBA-best Boston Celtics. LeBron James should have been granted two free-throw shots in the final seconds of the game, but referees did not blow the whistle after the Lakers star was hacked by Jayson Tatum at the rim. The no-call sent the contest into overtime, and the C’s ultimately secured a 125-121 win.
The missed call would have been pretty brutal regardless of who was attacking the basket, but it was all the more blatant considering an all-time great was at the forefront. That was what left Ham shaking his head after the Lakers were dealt a deflating loss.
“As much as you try not to put it on the officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult,” Ham told reporters, per ESPN. “The best player on earth can’t get a call. It’s amazing.”
“(He) plays a strong, physical brand of basketball and just because he doesn’t flop or he doesn’t fall or he’s not screaming when he’s shooting the ball, like I see a ton of other players doing, he gets penalized for it. I saw the same thing with Giannis (Antetokounmpo). I saw the same thing when I was a player in the Shaq (O’Neal) era. Those guys that play physical and really try to focus on finishing plays, sometimes it doesn’t go in their favor. But then you see other guys whimpering on every shot or every time they get bumped … and they are the ones getting the whistles.”
James himself offered similar sentiments after the game. The future Hall of Famer doesn’t understand why he’s not earning as many trips to the charity stripe as his colleagues.