LeBron James had already begun griping about the Cavaliers’ roster before Cleveland hosted the Kings on Wednesday. But the game offered an opportunity for the Cavs to reverse their on-court struggles and diffuse tension. Instead, they fell in overtime, a result that usually exacerbates problems.
Perhaps, there’d be a different feeling in Cleveland if the game featured correct officiating down the stretch.
Cauley-Stein (SAC) make contact with James’ (CLE) arm that affects his shot attempt.
A correct call would’ve given LeBron, who’s making 70% of his free throws this season and 74% for his career, two attempts from a line. Sure, the Cavs could’ve made more than 17 of the 34 free throws they actually took. But two more tries late in the fourth quarter could’ve made the difference.
Instead, Cauley-Stein blocked LeBron’s shot and secured the defensive rebound. Sacramento took the ball the other way and eventually won in overtime.
Tristan Thompson also got away with a defensive three-second violation in overtime, according to the league, but if LeBron drew the correct whistle earlier, Cleveland might have just won in regulation.