Editor’s note: This is the Monday, January 30, edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.
Good morning. The Lakers’ loss to the Celtics two nights ago remains the talk of the NBA. Maybe all this talk will bring action to change the league’s rules on replay reviews.
There’s other news:
The Lakers were furious that no foul was called after LeBron James was hit on the left arm by the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, causing his layup to miss on the final play of regulation in what became a 125-121 L.A. loss in overtime Saturday night in Boston.
James flopped to his hands and knees in exasperation. Patrick Beverley drew a technical foul for bringing a team photographer’s camera to chief official Eric Lewis to show the referee an image of the play. Coach Darvin Ham expressed frustration that the NBA would admit error in its next-day Last Two Minute Report but this would change nothing.
Indeed, Lewis told a pool reporter after the game that he and his crew “missed the play,” and yesterday the league said Tatum “initiated contact,” while the NBA officials association tweeted a statement calling the error “gut-wrenching.”
But it shouldn’t take until after the game, let alone the next day, for an error like this to be acknowledged and dealt with.
TV viewers saw the replay right away, and the foul was as clear as any you’ll ever watch.
The trouble is NBA rules’ limits on replay reviews. A coach may challenge a foul called against his team, but he can’t dispute a non-call like the one in the Lakers-Celtics game. And even if Ham could have asked for a review of this kind of decision, he couldn’t in this case because the Lakers had already used their one “coach’s challenge” for the game.
On the national telecast, Jeff Van Gundy spoke for Lakers fans and anyone else who wants the NBA to get calls right.
“This is exactly why replay was instituted,” Van Gundy said. “If we can’t review that, then to me replay serves no purpose in our game.”
The solution isn’t as clear as the problem. As leagues in all sports continue to tinker with replay rules, they’re right to restrict the number and kinds of decisions that can be reviewed so that action isn’t stopped too often. Allowing reviews of non-calls could create its own trouble, especially since play usually doesn’t stop after a non-call.
But non-calls are calls too, and they can be just as wrong and just as game-changing, as in this case when James should have been sent to the free-throw line with a chance to win a game.
If you and I watching at home can see a conclusive replay within moments, why can’t someone in charge at the arena or off-site do the same thing and have the power to correct the mistake?
An ESPN video of the sequence was viewed on YouTube more than 300,000 times in the 36 hours after the game.
There must be a way for it to be viewed once in the place and time that matters.
- Lakers said they’ll rest LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the game in Brooklyn (4:30 p.m., SPSN).
The newsletter asked: Did the advent of the LIV Golf tour in 2022 make you more or less enthusiastic about following the sport?
Maureen Baxter emailed to say: “I am as enthusiastic as ever to watch today’s golf. What I have not done and will never do is follow the LIV tour, sponsored by the murderous leaders of Saudi Arabia.”
Opening point spreads for the Super Bowl at various sportsbooks favor the Eagles by 1½ or 2. Do you pick the Eagles or Chiefs? Share your early prediction by email (KModesti@scng.com) or on Twitter (@KevinModesti).
“I could be at my most tired and still feel hyped when I come to gymnastics.” – Reporter Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) sharing the excitement of the big crowd at Pauley Pavilion for the UCLA women’s gymnastics team’s home opener.
No margin for error: UCLA’s Emma Malabuyo competes on the balance beam event yesterday at Pauley Pavilion. Photo is by contributor Drew A. Kelley.
Thanks for reading the newsletter. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at KModesti@scng.com and via Twitter @KevinModesti.
Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.