We give a lot of grief, usually deserved, to officials across all sports when they screw up. So we’ve gotta give it up when one makes a tough, crucial, deciding call against the NBA’s biggest star in a game his team wants badly.
Props to this ref for noticing that LeBron James stepped out of bounds, ever so slightly, on a drive while attempting to beat the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
LeBron steps out of bounds on the potential game-winning layup and the Cavs lose their 3rd straight. pic.twitter.com/9RrzlCyak6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 13, 2018
LeBron later took to Twitter to give the ref respect, too, but not without throwing another NBA official under the bus.
Definitely stepped out by a tiny bit after seeing it over again! Great call. Needed to be in OKC on that drive. Lol. Live and you Learn
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 13, 2018
He’s referring to this no-call on a game-winner by Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Oklahoma City Thunder from two weeks ago.
But Cleveland unraveled. And as they did, their leader got more and more visibly flustered.
LeBron got put in a spin cycle so naturally it was Kevin Love’s fault pic.twitter.com/zPQ1pb6b3V
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) January 13, 2018
He even fell victim, once again, to the irritations of Lance Stephenson.
LeBron James got a technical foul in the 4th quarter of a 1-point game for this “push” on #Pacers‘ Lance Stephenson just before the #Cavs got the ball to inbound on the sideline lol. pic.twitter.com/MDQhdDYn9M
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 13, 2018
LeBron blamed himself for that technical.
LeBron gets candid about his history with Lance Stephenson. pic.twitter.com/okskPftmaM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 13, 2018
Lance was even there to bother LeBron after his doomed game-winning attempt.
LeBron steps out-of-bounds with 2 seconds left, down 1 … WAIT FOR LANCE 😂 pic.twitter.com/5FDzD98EcT
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) January 13, 2018
“I just tried to get into him a little bit, tried to get him a little frustrated, have him thinking about me on the offensive end,” Stephenson said after the 97-95 comeback win.