“It’s set up for them to win…” Kevin Durant picks LeBron James’ Lakers to win $500,000 prize after controversial quarter-final game
Durant had a witty reason for this pick.
Kevin Durant (Via AP)
In a surprising turn of events, Phoenix Suns’ superstar Kevin Durant has openly endorsed the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James, as his pick to win the NBA In-Season Tournament’s $500,000 prize. This endorsement comes in the wake of a highly controversial quarter-final game that saw the Suns lose to the Lakers under contentious circumstances.
A disputed timeout call involving James marked the quarter-final match between the Suns and the Lakers, significantly impacting the game’s outcome. The Suns succumbed to a 103-106 defeat, eliminating them from the tournament and sparking widespread debate and criticism over the fairness of the officiating.
Durant, reflecting on the Los Angeles Lakers‘ victory and their prospects in the tournament, stated quite wittingly:
Imma go with the Lakers since they beat us. They got the size to compete with anybody, they got the quickest flight out of anybody, most fans out of anybody so its set up for them to win. I can't wait to watch the intensity of these games which has been incredible. I gotta say I wasn't a fan of how they were performing this thing but now I'm a huge fan of the In-Season [Tournament] and looking forward to watching it.
Durant’s endorsement is particularly noteworthy given his own experience in the tournament. The Lakers’ journey to the semi-finals has not been without its own drama. The controversial timeout call that played a pivotal role in their victory over KD’s Phoenix Suns has led to discussions about the integrity of the game and the decision-making process of the referees.
Phoenix Suns lost in close match despite Durant’s 31 points
Durant delivered a phenomenal performance for the Phoenix Suns, scoring a game-high 31 points with remarkable efficiency, shooting 70.6% from the field and 57.1% from the three-point line. He also contributed 4 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds. However, he air-balled a long 3-point attempt that could have sent the game to overtime.
The match was overshadowed by a controversial call from the referees, when LeBron James’ request for a timeout was granted despite the ball being loose, as Devin Booker had knocked it away from Austin Reaves just moments earlier.
This decision left Booker and the Suns’ head coach, Frank Vogel, devastated. Durant, however, displayed a more understanding attitude, acknowledging that such incidents happen occasionally and that there’s always room for human error:
That's [just] one play. It's a 48-minute game. I don't like to complain about calls. Sometimes the ref ain't going to get it right all the time. Sometimes it's on us to play through all that stuff and not worry about putting the game in the ref's hands.
The NBA In-Season Tournament has brought a new level of excitement and intensity to the regular season. With its unique format and substantial prize, it has garnered attention from players and fans alike by elevating the stakes of every game.
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