Last night at the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers took the floor without Kobe Bryant for the fifth consecutive game due to a shin injury. Sunday’s game was huge in terms of the playoff implications taking on the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. With the Lakers currently in the third seed and Mavs in the sixth, these two Western Conference heavyweights could go head-to-head in the playoffs once again.
With that being said, this game had a playoff atmosphere and ultimately went into overtime after battling back and forth for four quarters. Despite the absence of Kobe, the Lakers were able to pull through for a fourth win in five games without the league’s leading scorer.
Even though Los Angeles won their 39th game of the season and took one step closer to clinching the third seed in the West, the overtime victory over the defending champs didn’t come without some controversy. During overtime, Pau Gasol came up big with two clutch three-pointers that ultimately led the Lakers to victory. Unfortunately, one of these threes was questionable to say the least. Lakers forward Matt Barnes anticipated the shot coming off and met the ball at the rim. Barnes grazed the ball and touched the rim as Gasol’s shot went through.
This crucial basket immediately got outspoken Mavs owner Mark Cuban out of his seat and protesting the basket which basically put the nail in the coffin. According to Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas.com, Cuban wants the NBA to make goaltending reviewable:
“Any potential basket interference in the last two minutes of a game or overtime should be reviewed,” Cuban said he wrote in his email to the league. “I didn’t bring up that play up at all.
“You’ve got to make that reviewable. You have to ask them to change the rule.”
It would be hard to argue with Cuban on this issue. Barnes clearly touched the ball as it went through the basket and actually admitted just that after the game. If this three-pointer was disallowed, this game might have finished much differently. Whether or not the NBA listens to Cuban’s plea remains to be seen, but it brings up an interesting argument about making a rule change.