As the Philadelphia 76ers faced off against the Boston Celtics, the eyes of the entire NBA community were on Philly. The fixture pitted two of the Eastern Conference giants against each other in a rich vein of form. The game was even described as a potential Eastern Conference Final or Semi-Final preview.
And the match-up didn’t disappoint at all. Both teams showed up at almost full strength and delivered a game worthy of the Playoffs.
Eventually, the league-leading Celtics proved a bit too strong for the Philadelphia outfit. A tough defeat indeed at home for Joel Embiid and Co.
The decisive moment of the game came about in the last seconds when Celtics All-Star Starter Jayson Tatum hit a dagger three to ice the game for the Boston outfit. While Tatum had a bit of an off-game scoring-wise compared to his own elevated status, he came to his team’s aid when the moment called for it.
However, the game-winner has since been dissected by NBA’s social media referees to great scrutiny. And the verdict suggests a hint of a violation in the lead-up to the shot.
Jayson Tatum’s game-winner last night in Philly
This video is art pic.twitter.com/lERSX4I6N9
— Celtics Junkies (Fan Page) (@Celtics_Junkies) February 26, 2023
Also read: “We Don’t Publicize Discipline for Officials”: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Opens Up About the Repercussions of Bad Calls on Referees
A user by the name u/mdmcnally1213 initially raised his confusion regarding whether the play involved a backcourt violation. According to the user, Tatum received the ball mid-air and should be considered to have been in the backcourt based on his position.
Since Marcus Smart’s pass was from the frontcourt. So, if Tatum was deemed to be in the backcourt while he received it, the play marks a backcourt violation. In that case, the game-winner came from an illegal play.
However, not everyone was in agreement. A lack of examples of a similar instance created considerable noise around the debate as there was no precedent.
A user pointed out how the rule is to be interpreted differently for someone carrying the ball from one half to the other and for someone receiving it mid-air from another half. A single foot down in the advanced half is sufficient to establish legal progression, in his interpretation.
Such a debate only adds to the controversies surrounding refereeing decisions in the 2022-23 season of the NBA. Various instances of wrong decisions have even been acknowledged by the officials to this point of the season. And as opposed to Boston, their biggest rivals, the Lakers seem to have struggled to be beneficiaries of refereeing decisions.
LeBron James is without a doubt the biggest name in the NBA today. And considering his public status, taking jibes at referees isn’t something King James relies on frequently.
However, in this instance, it appears James and the Lakers ran out of patience. With their Playoff hopes bound to come down to marginal decisions, the lash-out is a manifestation of the team’s struggles.
🤦🏾♂️!!! I don’t understand. I truly don’t https://t.co/XgVDGRZ5Wa
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 29, 2023
Seeing the Celtics win a crucial game owing to a possible refereeing let-off while they themselves have struggled to get some of that luck their way must certainly hurt the Laker faithful. A mini resurgence is on the keys, but the wounds are certainly bound to hurt.
With LeBron bringing it to public notice too, the matter is in front of everyone’s eye now. Is the trend of refereeing mistakes going to continue marring the NBA this season?
Also read: “Lakers Don’t Get Foul Calls!”: Mo Bamba Highlights How LeBron James and His New Team Aren’t Awarded Referee Whistles
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