The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 106-103 on Tuesday night. With the victory, L.A. moved on to the next round of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
While Los Angeles has increasingly been linked to a blockbuster trade with the Utah Jazz off the court, on the court they seemed as focused as ever.
Unfortunately, while LeBron James and Co. walked out with a win, it didn’t come without controversy.
Late in the fourth quarter, Austin Reaves took possession of the ball in the backcourt and appeared to lose control of it after Phoenix applied some defensive pressure.
Fortunately, James called a timeout and Los Angeles retained possession of the basketball despite Reaves’ near-turnover:
Lakers got this timeout call on what seemed to be a loose ball 👀 pic.twitter.com/j1xdODEgNo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2023
Suns players (and their fans) were livid. They insisted that Reaves didn’t have control of the ball when James called that timeout, and thus, it shouldn’t have been granted.
Even Suns star Devin Booker made that case on social media:
It makes sense that Booker took to Instagram to state his grievance; he is super active on the platform. Just a few days ago, he was busted stalking his ex-girlfriend on it.
Frank Vogel, Phoenix’s coach, also expressed unhappiness over how that sequence went down:
“Not a good one.”
Upset Frank Vogel when asked what explanation he got on #Lakers granted timeout when it appeared they turned the ball over before.
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 6, 2023
That said, a new video that emerged early Wednesday morning suggests that, although it is debatable whether that timeout should have been granted, the right team retained possession of the ball.
On that controversial sequence, Booker appeared to kick the ball:
So I’m seeing a lot of haters crying that the game was rigged for the Lakers.
But KD and Devin Booker fouled Austin Reaves and the refs didn’t call it.
Also Booker kicks the ball and the refs swallow their whistle. Suns fans keep crying 😂 pic.twitter.com/YDiAmdWq1a
— Happy Lakers Fan (@oprahsideclark) December 6, 2023
If the Lakers don’t receive that timeout (which was an incorrect call) the correct call still would of been a kickball on booker and the Lakers would retain possession. pic.twitter.com/CPOfRhxqtz
— Just 4 Context (@Just4Context) December 6, 2023
Second missed kick ball
— Richard 🐐 (@pbp_Rich) December 6, 2023
Exactly the ball don’t lie
— Miles Shockley (@ShockleyMiles) December 6, 2023
Another kick ball violation from Devin Booker smh twice in one game
— 𝐉𝐚𝐡 🥡 (@BANDEMlC) December 6, 2023
Thus, if that had been called properly, the Lakers would have retained control anyway.
Big picture, folks are mad because they think the league rigged the game in favor of the Lakers.
With the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks having recently been eliminated from the In-Season Tournament, some fans think the NBA wants at least one big market squad in there.
Everyone can draw their own conclusions on that theory.
The Lakers are having themselves a busy December. They are one of four teams in the hunt for Zach LaVine, and one of two teams seen as frontrunners for a Lauri Markkanen trade with the Jazz.
Nick Bosa’s New Girlfriend Causes A Stir At 49ers Game (Photos): https://t.co/eNee01PS0K
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 5, 2023
As fun as it would be to win the In-Season Tournament, the real prize at the end of the rainbow for every NBA team is an actual NBA championship.
Will the Lakers and Suns battle it out again later this year in the Western Conference Finals and settle who is better once and for all? Time will tell.
A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.