WATCH: Fans suspect foul play as LeBron James gets CONTROVERSIAL timeout from as Lakers beat Suns
Referee's decision in final seconds raises questions and sparks fan outrage
Austin Reaves almost lost the ball when LeBron James called the timeout (NBAE)
In a gripping encounter that has sparked widespread debate, the Los Angeles Lakers clinched a contentious victory over the Phoenix Suns in the In-Season Tournament’s Quarter Finals, thanks to a critical and controversial timeout granted to LeBron James. This decision, made in the dying moments of the game, has raised questions about the fairness of the call, leaving fans and analysts alike in a state of bewilderment.
The incident occurred during the NBA’s in-season tournament quarterfinals, with the Lakers leading 105-103 and only 11.2 seconds left on the clock. LeBron James, after an inbounds play, desperately signaled for a timeout as teammate Austin Reaves struggled to maintain possession of the ball due to some excellent defensive pressure from Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
Austin Reaves lost the ball, yet referee Tom Washington awarded a timeout which shifted the momentum towards the Los Angeles Lakers. This decision preserved Lakers’ possession and eliminated the Phoenix Suns from the tournament.
The Suns lost their chance to retrieve the loose ball, with no option for replay review or reversal of the play. This controversy ignited strong reactions from fans, leading to widespread discussions and debates. These debates focus on the game’s integrity and referees’ decision-making processes.
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The reaction from the basketball community was immediate and vocal. Fans took to social media to express their disbelief and frustration over the call. Fans even compared this to back when the Lakers suffered a similar defeat to the Boston Celtics, hinting at the league just ‘paying back a favor’. Others pointed out the league and it’s referees are always biased towards their favorite players such as Chicago Bulls‘ legend Michael Jordan.
Although this decision sparked controversy, it doesn’t appear to be the only ‘biased’ call made. Some fans also argued that the refs missed calling a defensive foul on Devin Booker before Reaves lost the ball. In the end, fans can only speculate, as the game’s results are now final.
The controversy surrounding this game has not only highlighted how subjective refereeing in basketball can be, but also has brought the intense scrutiny these decisions undergo to the forefront. The Lakers will now face the New Orleans Pelicans in the tournament semi-finals.
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