As part of their L2M report, the NBA on Thursday announced the call for a jump ball at center court in the final seconds of the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic was incorrect.
“On the inbound pass, referees were reasonably certain that there was a clock malfunction and triggered an Instant Replay under Rule 13.1.a.5,” the report read. “After review, it is confirmed that the game clock was inadvertently started by the referee crew and that time expired before the ball was touched.
“The clock is correctly reset to 0:00.6. However, since the pass was still in the air when the clock expired, the ball was still in ORL’s possession and thus ORL should have retained possession on the sideline at the nearest spot.
“Had the ball been touched by LAL prior to the expiration of the clock, it would have been considered a loose ball and the jump ball ruling would have been correct.”
Following the Lakers’ 108-107 win, head referee Bill Spooner told a pool reporter that the officials determined the clock “malfunctioned.” It started and wound down without the ball first being touched by a player.
“Anytime there is either an inadvertent whistle and/or a horn when the ball is in the air, there’s no possession and we go to center circle. Jump ball,” Spooner added. It should be noted the ruling for the jump ball came from the NBA’s replay center.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton and several players in the locker room said they were unaware such a rule existed, nor had they seen a sequence like it.