Livid LeBron Rips NBA After Disastrous Night for Refs

And the 76ers are so angry with the league's officiating, they plan to file a grievance

LeBron James talks to the media after losing.
LeBron James has a legit beef with the NBA's replay center.
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty

Already facing difficult opponents in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the 76ers and Lakers gave the Knicks and Nuggets all they could handle on Monday night in a pair of pivotal games that came down to the final minute. Still, neither visiting team was able to overcome the refs assigned to officiate on a night marred with controversy.

At Madison Square Garden with the Knicks holding a 1-0 series lead, New York appeared to commit several late-game fouls that were not called as Philly was desperately trying to hold onto a slim lead. Seemingly battling the refs and the feisty Knicks, the Sixers were doomed when a late turnover by star guard Tyrese Maxey led to Donte DiVincenzo’s go-ahead 3-pointer and a 104-101 win for New York. During the critical play, it looked as if Maxey was fouled and multiple members of the 76ers attempted to call a timeout to no avail.

“Everybody was trying to call a timeout on the floor,” reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid said after the game. “Me included. Coach on the sideline. But they didn’t give it to us. But, forget about the timeout. There’s a bunch of fouls. That’s fucking unacceptable. Tyrese got fouled a couple times. We just had the same thing happen against Miami. That’s just unacceptable to put us in that situation. That’s unacceptable to lose a game like this, especially in the playoffs.”

As a franchise, the Sixers also feel what happened on Monday night was unacceptable, and a team spokesman said Philadelphia plans to file a grievance with the NBA related to the officiating during their series against the Knicks. We’ll see if the grievance alters anything when the two teams resume the series Thursday in Philadelphia.

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Shortly after the 76ers dropped their Game 2 matchup against the Knicks, the Lakers and Nuggets tipped off their Game 2 battle in Denver. Similar to the Sixers, the Lakers also blew a lead that ballooned to as much as 20 points and came up short against the defending champs when Jamal Murray hit a fadeaway buzzer-beater to give the Nuggets a 101-99 win.

Afterward, LeBron James vented about a non-call on a drive by his teammate D’Angelo Russell and brought up what he’d seen in the night’s earler Sixers-Knicks matchup. “I don’t understand what’s going on in the replay center, to be honest,” James said. “D-Lo clearly gets hit in the face on the drive. What the (expletive) do we have a replay center…it doesn’t make sense. It makes no sense. It bothers me. Then I just saw what happened with the Sixers-Knick game, too. What are…What are we doing?”

That’s a question the NBA will have to answer as the Lakers head back to Los Angeles for Game 3 facing a 2-0 deficit. Based on how the league’s refs performed on Monday night, it’s a question that deserves an answer.

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