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Folks, it appears LeBron James will be OK. If you happened to tune in to catch the final seconds of regulation in Saturday night’s game between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, you may have seen James in agony, writhing around inside the paint with his team around him.

He remained on the TD Garden floor for a good 45 seconds while being consoled by teammates. He pounded the parquet and covered his head while going down on all fours. It wasn’t a season-ending injury, nor was he in any kind of physical pain. It was an embarrassing tantrum after he felt he was fouled.

LeBron James took drama to a new level against the Celtics

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 28, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

James is known for flopping. He’s known for complaining. Saturday’s level of LeBron drama hit a new level, one that went beyond embarrassing.

Players complain about fouls constantly. Jayson Tatum and Grant Williams of the Celtics might be two of the biggest complainers in the game, but they had nothing on LeBron on Saturday.

With the game tied 105-105, James drove the crowded lane and missed the layup that would have given the Lakers the upset victory. No foul was called, prompting James to throw a temper tantrum that would rival a 4-year-old not getting the Legos he wanted for Christmas.

Replays show Tatum making contact with James as he drove the lane. It certainly could have been called, but there was no whistle, and the game went to overtime. The Celtics won, 125-121. If any other player had the reaction James had, a technical foul would have been called, giving Boston the opportunity the seal the deal before overtime.

LeBron likely believes a player of his caliber should get a call in that situation. Many stars do, but maybe a team that’s in 13th place in the West and hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in two years doesn’t get that call.

Officials admitted they missed the call after the game

Fouls can be called on nearly every drive to the basket, and missed calls are part of the game. Robert Williams III seemingly was fouled in a key moment during Thursday’s overtime loss to the Knicks, but the Celtics center didn’t slide across the floor and throw a 45-second fit in protest.

After Saturday’s game, crew chief Eric Lewis admitted to a pool reporter, per ESPN, that there was a missed call.

“There was contact,” Lewis said. “At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play.”

After the game, James, who shot just six free throws on the night, hinted he might be getting singled out.

“I watch basketball every single day,” he said. “I watch games every single day. And I don’t see it happening to nobody else. It’s just weird.”

While the call may have been missed, it’s James’ reaction that’s the story. It’s one thing to throw your arms up in the air or jaw at an official, but to collapse to the floor and tantrum it up for nearly a full minute is beyond embarrassing, especially for a 38-year-old star.


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