First it was Lakers coach Darvin Ham. Then D’Angelo Russell was called for two. Then a delay of game triggered by LeBron James. In a game the Lakers lost by one, four technical fouls in the second half loomed large.
“I think, the perspective of inconsistency. And even when I got hit with my technical foul, normally … I’ve been around this league a long time, man. You have a crew chief, supposed to, ya know, along with his counterparts, have the game under control,” Ham said. “And all I want is an explanation sometimes. To not get that for the rest of the game once I got my technical, ya know, Miami plays a physical brand of basketball but we’re not complaining about how physical they are. We just want balance and consistency, that’s it.”
Ham pointed to James only shooting four free throws despite being in the paint as one area that caught his attention.
“The explanations of what they’re telling me are not consistent with what’s actually happening on the floor. When I went for the dunk attempt against Thomas Bryant, he clearly elbowed — like, arm straight across my face,” James recounted. “And I asked him for the explanation — well, one of the refs said that he was straight up, hands straight in the air. Two of the refs said they were blocked and they didn’t see it. One of my transition plays, I was going in transition and got fouled and nobody saw it.
“I just, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know what to [say]. I’m going over to them respectfully and telling them what’s going on in the plays and I consistently go to the line three or four times a game. Sometimes not even at all. Which is weird.”
Russell’s technical fouls came after he complained about a kicked ball violation he thought officials missed. Crew chief James Williams told a pool reporter than Russell made “an overt gesture” for the first technical and received a second for “addressing a game official with vulgarity.”
“Had a lot of opportunities to still win the game as well,” Russell said, declining to directly address the technical. “That’s all you can really ask for. Techs and stuff flying, that kind of controlled the game. We lost by one point…”