The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to seal the deal in the final moments against the L.A. Clippers on Friday night, falling 105-102 in a crucial loss. One of the defining moments of the loss was an 8.5-minute review that led to LeBron James being ruled out of bounds on a play that originally was called out of bounds off Robert Covington.
Possession was switched to the hands of the Clippers with the Lakers down one. And although L.A. was able to force a turnover, they were unable to score on a missed Carmelo Anthony 3-pointer ahead of the buzzer.
James was not particularly happy with the length of the review or the circumstances that led to it. In particular, he said he’d never seen a review of that kind during his 19-year tenure in the NBA.
“It impacted the moment. The whole game, there’s too many possessions to say OK, it impacted the game. But it definitely impacted the moment,” James said of the lengthy review. “That rule has never been explained to me and I know every rule in this game as long as I’ve been playing.
“I never knew that you could challenge a play that wasn’t called on the floor, and that’s essentially what happened. The play that they were reviewing was the Covington, it was on the line and to see how much time was on the clock, that’s what was explained to me. But they allowed the Clippers to review a play that wasn’t even called on the floor. That was be like if I was going down the floor and if I traveled, but the refs called a foul, and you challenge it, they’re not gonna go back and say ‘well, you traveled.’ It’s never happened. It happens so much in our game, you can’t challenge a play, well I guess you can, not to my knowledge, a play that hasn’t been called on the floor. I’ve never seen that before.”
The Lakers star was also not pleased with the explanation he got from the referees, even though he knew which way it was going relatively quickly. “Well, I pretty much knew that it wasn’t going in our favor by the amount of time that they were over there.
“No, I went over and said ‘how can you challenge a play that wasn’t called on the floor?’ and the referee told me that it’s in the rule book. I’ve just never seen it happen before, and I watch basketball all day long. Every day, I watch these NBA games all day long. I’ve never seen it happen.”
It is certainly a disappointing way to lose, but it cannot entirely be traced back to the long review. By that point, L.A. had already allowed the Clippers to regain the lead despite being in control for a majority of the fourth quarter.
This type of loss is absolutely disappointing given where the Lakers are in the standings and how close they would have been to the Clippers had they won. But the Lakers shouldn’t have any interest in dwelling on officiating when they had opportunities to close the game out earlier.
James discusses large second-quarter deficit
The Lakers had to make yet another second-half comeback to have control of the game in the fourth quarter. James spoke about the deficit they created for themselves. “It is, I mean every game is important for us at this point. It’s our last twenty-plus games, every game is important.
“For us to go down in the fashion that we went down, for us to continue. We went down in the Utah game as well. We have to see if we can scrap our way out of it. We definitely would like to play better basketball, to where we’re not building deficits like that early on or even going into halftime.”
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