LeBron James offered his perspective on a controversial timeout on a late-game loose ball in the Lakers’ In-Season Tournament win over the Suns. It took place after Lakers guard Austin Reaves was seemingly stripped of the ball with time ticking away and LA up by two.
“I was able to hit AR, and I felt (Devin Booker) kind of pushed up on him a little bit kind of made AR stumble,” James told reporters. “And as soon as I saw AR start to stumble a little bit, I started to make the notion and the voice to the referee that was closest to me for a timeout. After that, I heard the commotion, the ball was loose, whatever the case may be, but my direction was right towards the referee to get us a timeout for sure.”
Meanwhile, Reaves praised James for his quick thinking.
“I thought D-Book ran into me, and it was late-game, and I don’t know if they were trying to foul or what, but there was no call, and obviously, Bron made a high-IQ play he’s probably done a million times in his career and called timeout,” Reaves said. “I don’t really know if it was a foul or not. But we had a timeout and… they didn’t have any timeouts. And KD had to take a long three. He missed, and we won.”
- Referee Josh Tiven also offered his side of the story. “During live play the official felt that LA still had possession of the ball when LeBron James requested the timeout,” Tiven told Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Through postgame video review in slow motion replay, we did see that Austin Reaves had his left hand on the ball while it’s pinned against his left leg, which does constitute control.”
The Pelicans are facing an uphill climb in their In-Season Tournament Final Four game against the Lakers in Las Vegas, per the oddsmakers.
As relayed by Gabe Henderson of NOLA.com, New Orleans is a 1.5-point underdog in what really is a “pseudo home game” for Los Angeles. Plus, we all know which team would draw bigger ratings in the championship game.
The Pelicans-Lakers winner will face the winner of the Bucks-Pacers game for the championship.
The Blazers have had a fairly successful trip thus far — barely losing at Milwaukee, before winning at Indiana and Cleveland, then losing at Utah. They next visit the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Needless to say, they are hoping to build off their successes.
“The Utah game was disappointing, but as we know, because we’ve been on the other side so many times, it was a tough game to play,” coach Chauncey Billups said, via Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian. “I know my guys were tired. Y’all know I don’t do the excuse thing. We’re on an eight-game trip … It was just tough. And the last game of the trip is always difficult.”
As it stands, the Blazers (6-13) have won three of five. “We can always do better,” rookie guard Scoot Henderson said, via Fentress. “Even in the games we won, we still have a lot of things to work on. But I think it was a solid, solid road trip. Two-and-two is not bad. But I think we can be even better.”