Lou Williams berated a referee about as much as possible without getting a technical foul.
The situation – tie game with 13.5 seconds left – probably contributed to his leeway. Another factor that might have give Williams room to argue without further penalty:
He was right.
Williams was called for offensively fouling J.J. Barea while making a shot that would’ve put the Lakers up 92-90 in the final moments of their loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday. But the whistle was incorrect, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Barea (DAL) clamps and pulls Williams’ (LAL) arm on the drive, and then falls back from him. The trail official incorrectly makes the offensive call on Williams because he only sees Barea’s histrionics, not the clamp
The report doesn’t specifically say a foul should’ve been called on Barea. Sometimes, an incorrect call is paired with an incorrect non-call. That’s not the case here.
But it sure seems Barea should’ve been hit with a foul.
The Dallas guard – as the NBA acknowledged – yanked Williams’ arm. If that’s not a foul, I don’t know what is. (Given the use of “histrionics,” Barea could at least get a flopping warning after the fact.)
A Barea shooting foul would’ve given Williams, who’s making 83% of his free throws this season, a chance to put the Lakers up three.
It won’t make Williams feel any better, but the Lakers are probably better off with the missed call. The defeat gets them one step closer to keeping their top-three-protected first-round pick.
The biggest loser from this error? The 76ers, who get the pick if it falls No. 4 or lower.