The NBA In-Season Tournament brought teams to play with playoff intensity in December; that level of play was exactly what fans received from LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant’s Phoenix Suns tonight in the tournament quarterfinals. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers and Suns traded back-to-back shots, with Austin Reaves getting the last word with the game-ending triple that gave the Lakers their ticket to Las Vegas with a 106 to 103 victory.
The Lakers’ victory, however, was not without controversy. After Kevin Durant made a shot that cut the Suns’ deficit to 2 points, the Lakers decided to quickly pass the ball to Reaves. Reaves clearly expected an intentional foul, so he stepped in on Devin Booker, but the referee did not blow the whistle. The 25-year-old guard ended up losing his balance and it looked like Durant might go on to tie the game.
However, while Austin Reaves was in trouble, LeBron James had the insight to call a timeout, which referee Tom Washington granted. The only problem was that the ball appeared to already be out of the Lakers’ hands when James called timeout, much to the disappointment of fans on social media.
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
Phoenix Suns fans were absolutely furious, as they believe the league wants its golden boy LeBron James and the Lakers to participate in the NBA In-Season Tournament to generate interest in the competition.
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