With 3.4 seconds remaining in the tightly contested Lakers and Timberwolves game last night, Kobe Bryant missed a free-throw that would have given the Lakers a four point lead. Timberwolves’ guard Ricky Rubio grabbed the miss, raced down court, and heaved a long three-pointer with the time expiring, as Bryant and Dwight Howard both jumped from behind to impede.
When looked at again on replay, it’s debatable that Bryant hit Rubio upon the wrist as he was shooting and even Ricky believed the same as he was animate about being fouled after time expired. Today, Ben Golliver of NBA Sports Illustarted reported that the NBA contacted the Timberwolves and apologized and informed them that the referees did miss the call.
Rubio and Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman were irate about the call after game. However, Bryant did not share the same emotion:
“That’s not a foul,” Bryant told told reporters after the game. “They ain’t calling that s—. I don’t think I got him. That’s just a tough call to make. I just put my hand in. It’s not like I went out and smacked him across the arm or anything like that.”
And what if the foul had been called and Rubio had forced the game into an extra period?
“We would have gone into overtime and won the game,” Bryant said. “It’s as simple as that.”
The Lakers resume play tonight as they face the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.