Stolen Victory: NBA Concedes Referees Blew Key Game for Lakers

LeBron James Lakers

Getty Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James argues with an official during a 2020 game.

The Los Angeles Lakers received another vintage performance from Russell Westbrook on November 26. In 51 minutes of play against the Sacramento Kings, the former NBA MVP scored 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting while adding 11 assists, 10 rebounds and two steals.

It was arguably his best performance in the purple and gold, but it still wasn’t enough to carry the Lake Show to the win. Instead, the Kings prevailed in triple overtime, 141-137. As a result, Los Angeles now finds itself below the .500 mark for the year at 10-11.

There were a number of factors that contributed to the Lakers losing, however, the officials clearly played a role in sealing the team’s fate as well.

In the wake of the loss, the league’s Last Two Minute Report revealed a handful of blown calls during crunch time. There were two, in particular, that may have swung the game in the Lakers’ favor had they been called correctly on the floor.

The Extra Point That May Have Made all the Difference

KINGS at LAKERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 26, 2021THIS WEEKEND ONLY lock in 50% off NBA League Pass: Subscribe to the NBA: Led by De’Aaron Fox’s 34 PTS, 6 REB and 8 AST, the Sacramento Kings defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in triple overtime, 141-137. LeBron James (30 PTS, 7 REB, 11 AST) and Anthony Davis (23 PTS, 8 REB, 4…2021-11-27T06:51:51Z

With just over 10 seconds remaining during the first overtime and the score level at 110, Westbrook and Anthony Davis perfectly executed a pick-and-roll that resulted in AD getting a left-side lay-in, which gave the Lakers a two-point lead. He probably should have been given an opportunity to make it three, though.

As Davis moved toward the hoop, he appeared to collide with Kings big man Alex Len; it was to the point that he was off-balance as he finished the shot. Much to Davis’ chagrin — he was visibly perturbed after the play — though, no whistle came.

The L2M report later classified the play as an incorrect non-call, with the comment: “Len (SAC) makes body contact with Davis (LAL) that affects his SQBR during his shot attempt near the rim.”

On the ensuing possession, Buddy Hield hit a step-back 18-footer to nod the score at 112 and send the game to a second overtime.

If Sacramento has to go for three in that situation, the game may have had a different result. And instead of focusing on the epic struggle that has been the last few weeks of Lakers basketball, maybe we’re all talking about how the team gutted out a tough win and looks to be turning a corner.

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The Game-Winning Attempt That Wasn’t

There were more shenanigans in the second overtime when the Lakers were potentially robbed of an extra 0.7 seconds and an attempt at a potential game-winner.

After a James lay-up made it 124-124, the clock was stopped with 24.7 seconds remaining. For some reason, though, the 24-second shot clock was turned off for the Kings’ possession, despite the seven-tenths-of-a-second difference with the game clock.

Had that error been corrected — or had it not occurred at all — the Lakers may have gotten another crack at a go-ahead bucket after stopping Sacramento on the play. Said the L2M report: “The game clock stops at 00:24.7 and the shot clock is incorrectly shut off. Play should have been stopped to adjust the clocks for the 0.7 second differential.”

While the aforementioned non-calls loom largest, they weren’t the only calls missed by the officials down the stretch. With just over a minute remaining in regulation, LeBron James drove to the hoop and found Davis streaking toward the basket for a possible bucket, but the ball was knocked away.

Fortunately, James was there to pick it up and score two points, but the L2M report indicated that Davis was actually fouled on the play by Tyrese Haliburton.


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Tom Neri
Tom Neri
1 month ago

Gotta love the title “stolen victory”. 1st you are assuming Davis hits the free throw. If he misses it your point is invalid. 2nd you assume Gentry wouldn’t call timeout if there had been a .7 difference there. Lastly even with those missed calls there was still an entire 3OT with kings players not being subbed out similar to Lakers. Now if the argument is they are older this more tired then maybe the roster should have been fixed before season began. Or the traded for Heild instead of Westbrooke. Either way the arrogance of LA is what did them in. They were up by 13 in the 4th and they lost the game in regulation.

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