But after that play was done, Lewis was headed to the line with a foul called on Bryant, and Gasol had been tagged with a technical on a retaliation push on Howard. And the next day, Phil Jackson thought those calls were the turning point in a Lakers loss.
"Well, I don't even know what to say about that ball game," Jackson said. "That's such a weird ball game with the refereeing and the calls down the stretch that were disputable calls. Changed the context of the ball game."
Somewhere the echoes of high school coaches everywhere can be heard admonishing their players — “Referees only decide the outcome of a game if you didn’t put it away yourself.” True enough, but when two of the best teams NBA get together it is going to be close, and all you can hope for is the refs not to make bad calls late that change momentum.
Against Orlando the refs were part of the story late. The Lakers have to hope that is the case against Cleveland on Monday.