The most interesting, and oddly enough, least reported stat from last night's 115-111 loss is the free throws attempted. Denver was given, awarded, allowed -- however you want to say it as long as the implication of bad ref'ing is noted -- 49 free throws last night. The Lakers had what would be an average, maybe a bit above average 28.
The age old argument of free throws as a result of bad defense or bad referees.... last night it was bad referees. One example, and then it's back to work. Ok, two that my beer fogged mind can recall. Luke Walton jumps for a rebound, receives an elbow to the face from Nene in mid air as the ball is tipped to Najera. Turiaf stands behind Najera and gives what can be described as no more than a bump; more like a tap if anything. Where does the whistle come? On the elbow to the face that if Kobe had done would have resulted in 7 free throws and the ball? Nope, that was missed.....Najera goes to the line.
Example two: Under a minute to go, Kobe feeds Brian Cook a pass underneath. Brian Cook attempts a layup, gets clobbered by -- yep -- Nene. No call made, scramble for the loose ball results in Nene tap dancing at the end line, throwing the ball to AI who trips -- on his own feet -- as Luke Walton jumps over his legs. Whistle - Luke Walton on the foul.
Lastly, -- yeah I know I said two but this one just came to me -- Kobe Bryant fronts Carmelo on an inbounds pass. Carmelo -- with both hands -- shoves Kobe to the floor to get open for the pass. Refs missed it. Which is fine except for the fact that it happened in front of two of the three refs, the one handing the ball to the inbounder and the one on the end line.
Horrible job, cost a game and likely a playoff spot. That's not to say the Lakers aren't at fault. After all, when you're coming back in every game that means you were playing like shit for the previous 3 quarters. But when it's eight on five, the task becomes even more daunting.