NEW ORLEANS — Late in the Lakers‘ 114-110 win over the Pelicans in Anthony Davis‘ homecoming Wednesday, LeBron James visited the ESPN broadcast table to express his disappointment with a call that was being reviewed.
With Caldwell-Pope throwing his hands up in disbelief at the whistle, Frank Vogel used his coach’s challenge to prompt crew chief Zach Zarba to review the call.
James approached ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy courtside to share how incredulous he was with the review process.
“That’s a bad call,” James said, which was picked up on the game broadcast. “When the ref makes that call, he don’t never want to be wrong. They’re never going to overturn it. Ever. Ever.”
Sure enough, the call was upheld, costing the Lakers their final timeout and awarding Ingram two free throws that he made to put the Pelicans up by one.
From there, the Lakers finished the game on a 6-1 run to win and improve their league-best record to 16-2.
Asked about the referee’s ruling after the game, Vogel sidestepped judgment.
“I don’t see the replays like they do, so I’ll have to trust them, but we’ll see,” he said.
This season, the first in which a coach’s challenge has existed in the NBA, only 39% (52 of 134) of called fouls on the court have been overturned or changed to a non-foul or a foul on the other team, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
It was the second time James criticized the refs on the Lakers’ 4-0 road trip. After he attempted zero free throws despite taking 27 field goal attempts — 16 of which were in the lane — in Memphis, he challenged how he was being officiated and Vogel vowed to contact the league.