It’s officially the dog days of the NBA regular season. We’re past the halfway mark in terms of games played, but the “official” midway point — the All-Star break — is still two weeks away. Meanwhile, the trade deadline is just over one week away on February 9, and players are getting antsy both due to trade rumors and in anticipation some much needed rest. It’s not quite time to panic for teams who are falling short of their preseason goals, but that time is approaching fast.
As a result, players, teams and refs are getting a little stressed and tried, resulting in errors both of the costly and laughable variety. There was something about this last weekend in particular that seemed to bring out the all the chaos and silliness the NBA has to offer, so let’s take a look at the two that went viral.
LeBron’s epic temper tantrum
I’m sorry, but I can’t help but laugh every time I see this. On January 28, there was another battle in the epic Lakers-Celtics rivalry, but the two teams could hardly be farther apart. While Boston is fresh of a finals appearance and comfortably sits at the top of the Eastern Conference once again, the Lakers are currently sitting at 13th in the Wild Wild West. How wild is it, you ask? Well, they only sit 3.5 games back from the 4th seeded Clippers in the most competitive, jumbled ten-team race for the final seven spots (including the play-in) we may ever see if they keep this up.
As a result, for the Lakers — who vowed to not miss the playoffs again this season — every game matters, even now. So when LeBron James was pretty obviously fouled by Jayson Tatum at the end of regulation with no call, sending the game to overtime (where they eventually lost), it was understandable that he would be a little upset, but this? This is too much:
Patrick Beverley added to the shenanigans by taking a camera to the refs to “show” them their mistake, earning a technical in the process.
Patrick Beverley really brought a camera out to the floor pic.twitter.com/7hMugg7BaN— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2023
That was silly, but LeBron’s tantrum of epic proportions was over the top. It would be understandable if such an erroneous no-call cost them a championship or an important playoff game, but this didn’t even cost them the game itself. It’s January, it’s a regular season game, and it merely went to overtime, where the Lakers still could have won. Even funnier, he apparently told Beverley after the game that he “almost” lost it over the non-call. Almost? I’d say he did.
Lastly, it also triggered what is possibly the most groveling apology ever from the NBA Referees Association, and again, you’d think they had just cost the Lakers a championship or something. LeBron may think he’s the only one who never gets calls, but he is definitely the only who gets apologies like this:
Like everyone else, referees make mistakes. We made one at the end of last night’s game and that is gut-wrenching for us. This play will weigh heavily and cause sleepless nights as we strive to be the best referees we can be.https://t.co/WyN8QVuTOl— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) January 29, 2023
Do you think the refs have ever lost sleep over a call that cost the Spurs a regular season game? Probably not.
What are you doing, James Harden?
James Harden used to be a Shaqtin’ a Fool regular due to his passive defense, but he likely nominated himself this week with a hilarious substitution error. Against the Nuggets (ironically the same day as LeBron’s meltdown), he apparently thought he was subbed out and sat on the bench, only to realize mid-play that he was supposed to be in. He tried to sneakily re-enter but ended up interfering with a Bones Hyland pass, getting bopped on the head with the ball, and assessed a technical foul.
Harden really ran onto the court from the bench mid-play pic.twitter.com/d1OrObZ58r— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 28, 2023
As the announcer said, how did no one realize the 76ers had just four players on the court for so long? Regardless, at least unlike LeBron, Harden could laugh about it in the end.