“Lakers-Phoenix officiating controversy?” Turns out, it’s not.

Lakers’ last-second call against Phoenix turns out to be heartfelt.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 106-103 in Game 6 of the 2023-2024 NBA regular season and in-season tournament quarterfinals at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sunday.

LeBron James led the way with 31 points, 11 assists, and five steals, while Anthony Davis dominated the boards with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Austin Reeves had a breakout game with 20 points and six rebounds.

Phoenix got 31 points and seven rebounds from Kevin Durant, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Devin Booker, and 21 points and two rebounds from Grayson Allen, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the team from losing.

It was a hard-fought game. Leading 59-47 at halftime, the Lakers looked to be in control, but Phoenix rallied in the third quarter to close the gap, and the game came down to the clutch. The Lakers were the eventual winners.

With 30 seconds left in regulation and the Lakers up by one, 102-101, after a Booker drive to the basket, Reeves hit a three-pointer to make it 105-101. Durant answered with a two-pointer to give Phoenix a 105-103 lead. That’s when it happened. Reeves collided with Booker on the inbounds pass and lost the ball, which went to the Phoenix players. However, the referee called the Lakers’ timeout. The Phoenix players jumped up and down in anger. Davis, who was fouled after the play, made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 106-103, and Durant missed a 3-pointer to seal the win for the Lakers.

It was a controversial call. In the NBA, a timeout can be called by anyone on the court, not just the head coach. However, it must be in possession of the ball. In the circumstances of this game, it’s hard to argue that Booker was in possession of the ball.

In his postgame interview, Booker was openly frustrated. “We don’t want favoritism. We just want a fair call,” Booker said. “The world saw what happened,” he added.

Phoenix head coach Frank Vogel was also unhappy. “I don’t understand the call,” Vogel said. We missed a chance to tie the game,” Vogel said.

The day after a game, the NBA releases a two-minute report that identifies the correct and incorrect calls that occurred with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Interestingly, the final call of the game between Phoenix and the Lakers was a correct call. The referee granted James’ request for a shot clock.

According to the report, “When James requested the timeout, the referee determined that the Lakers still had possession of the ball. After the play, video review showed that Reeves had the ball in his left hand, which was determined to be in possession.”

It looked like a huge blown call, but it was actually a heartfelt one.


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