Phoenix Suns came close to pull up a big win on the road and travel to Las Vegas for the NBA Cup semi-finals. However, things did not go their way in the final seconds, which included a controversial call by the referees.
Suns’ superstar Kevin Durant cut the lead to 3 and Devin Booker pressured Austin Reaves full court to force a turnover. Reaves seemed to lose the control of the ball and Booker was ready to steal the ball but the officials called a timeout requested by LeBron James.
The Suns were furious when officials awarded James’ request for a timeout while the ball appeared to be loose.
“It’s a loose ball, and you can’t call a timeout on a loose ball,” Suns’ coach Frank Vogel said. “The whistle blows. I don’t know why. Everything in the league is reviewable. I don’t know why that can’t be reviewable. … We got the trap, we got the turnover, (and the) damn whistle blows. It’s just frustrating.”
The Lakers ended up going to the line and Anthony Davis made 1 of his 2 free throws. Durant had the chance for a tying 3-pointer, but he missed as the clock was running out.
The officials explained the decision in the aftermath, claiming that the ball was not loose at the moment that LeBron James requested the timeout.
“During live play, the official felt that LA still had possession of the ball when LeBron James requested the timeout,” the officials said, per 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.”
In any case, the Lakers were able to advance to the NBA Cup semifinals, where they will face the New Orleans Pelicans on December 7 in Las Vegas.