The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 106-103 on Wednesday night to advance to the next round of the league’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
Unfortunately, despite everyone’s best efforts, the end result of this particular outing was marred by a controversial call that occurred late.
With the Lakers up and time winding down, Austin Reaves seemed to turn the ball over amid pressure from the Suns in the backcourt. Fortunately for L.A., LeBron James was able to call a timeout.
Some Suns players and fans felt like Los Angeles shouldn’t have been granted the timeout because Reaves didn’t have control of the basketball when James called it.
Suns fans should be livid. In order for a time out to be called,the Lakers needed to have possession of the ball. It is clearly not controlled by Reaves as the ball is already free by the time LeBron is turning to the ref with the time out signal. This would’ve tied the game pic.twitter.com/tF6Jb9MQVT
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) December 6, 2023
Afterward, the NBA’s referees came out and explained clearly why they made the call that they ultimately made:
Q: “Why were the Lakers awarded a timeout…?”
Referee Josh Tiven: “…Thru postgame video review in slow motion replay, we did see that Austin Reaves had his left hand on the ball while it’s pinned against his left leg, which does constitute control” pic.twitter.com/EL30myLt4o
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) December 6, 2023
“Through postgame video review in slow motion replay, we did see that Austin Reaves had his left hand on the ball while it’s pinned against his left leg, which does constitute control,” referee Josh Tiven said.
Clearly that didn’t appease everyone, though. Devin Booker, who made headline last week for stalking his ex on social media, took to Instagram once again on Tuesday night to protest the outcome of the game:
In any event, an alternate angle of the play in question confirmed that the right team wound up winning – even if it did come under questionable circumstances.
Big picture, the In-Season Tournament is obviously nice, but the NBA Championship remains the end goal for all the squads. Because of that, the Lakers are scrambling to improve the roster and make some big moves.
L.A. is one of four teams Zach LaVine has expressed an interest in being traded to. The Lakers are also one of two squads in the hunt for Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz.
Rumors about a potential deal between the Lakers and Jazz have intensified in recent days.
Nick Bosa’s New Girlfriend Causes A Stir At 49ers Game (Photos): https://t.co/eNee01PS0K
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 5, 2023
Regardless of what happens with the In-Season Tournament, there is a very good chance that both the Suns and Lakers will be in contention for the Western Conference crown come season’s end.
Will the Suns eventually be able to right the wrong that they feel like they experienced on Tuesday night? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.