Lakers News: LeBron James & Austin Reaves Discuss Controversial Timeout Call Vs. Suns
\(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tuesday night’s In-Season Tournament quarterfinal between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns had its fair share of drama and intrigue. The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Austin Reaves, took down the Suns 106-103 to secure a place in the semifinals in Las Vegas.

But the larger conversation after the game is surrounding a controversial decision by the referees.

In the final seconds, with the Lakers nursing a two-point lead following a made layup by Kevin Durant. Reaves lost control of an inbounds pass, but just before he could completely lose control of the ball, James was able to call a timeout and preserve the Lakers’ possession. The Suns immediately argued that Reaves had already lost possession when the timeout was called, but it was granted nonetheless.

The Lakers went on to win the game after resetting that possession and the Suns were left livid at officiating for what they felt was a glaring mistake that handed L.A. the game. James spoke about what he saw in that moment and why he feels the timeout being granted was the correct call.

“I was able to hit AR, and I felt Book kind of pushed up on him a little bit kind of made AR stumble,” James said. “And as soon as I saw AR start to stumble a little bit, I started to make the notion and the voice to the referee that was closest to me for a timeout. After that, I heard the commotion, the ball was loose, whatever the case may be, but my direction was right towards the referee to get us a timeout for sure.”

Reaves echoed a similar sentiment about Devin Booker’s contact on that play and praised James for quick thinking.

“I thought D-Book ran into me, and it was late-game, and I don’t know if they were trying to foul or what, but there was no call, and obviously, Bron made a high-IQ play he’s probably done a million times in his career and called timeout,” Reaves recalled. “I don’t really know if it was a foul or not. But we had a timeout and… they didn’t have any timeouts. And KD had to take a long three. He missed, and we won.”

In the postgame pool report interview, conducted by Jovan Buha of the Athletic with crew chief Josh Tiven, it was revealed exactly what the referee saw and why timeout was granted.

“During live play the official felt that LA still had possession of the ball when LeBron James requested the timeout,” Tiven said. “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.”

Tiven not only supported the call on the court, but felt confident enough to confirm the call after a replay review. So while the Suns may continue to air their frustrations, the Lakers and the referees seem to have stories aligned as to how the timeout was granted on the court.

Lakers to face Pelicans in semifinals

The Lakers are heading to Las Vegas for the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament. There, they face the New Orleans Pelicans, who breezed past the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

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