It’s not often you see a winning team feel (a tiny bit) bad for the losing one but (sort of tiny) Isaiah Thomas and the Lakers know the Orlando Magic were screwed in the final second of the one-point victory for the Lakers.
“I still don’t even know how it ended.” Said Thomas, who had 13 points and 9 assists off the bench. “I don’t even know what the call was. It sucks for the Magic but I’m glad we won.”
What happened was the Magic had 00.6 seconds to make a game-winning shot. Unlikely but it happens. Mario Hezonja inbounded the ball and the Staples Center shot clock started early before being touched. The refs realized the shot clock mistake but instead of giving the Magic another shot at inbounding the ball, they made the teams do a jump ball at center court. There’s a 0% chance a team is going to score in 00.6 seconds on a jump ball at center court, although, I do remember Popeye Jones once scoring on a jump ball by the free throw line.
“Just common sense would tell me in that situation, if the clock started early, just redo the possession,” Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. “They felt otherwise.”
Here’s what Coach Walton and a few other players had to say about the ridiculous decision by the refs or the secret NBA guys on the other end of the phone in New Jersey.
Luke Walton: “They said it came from Jersey. When it came to be a clock issue, they make the call from there. I was initially upset because we stopped the play and got the deflection. Obviously, when I heard the explanation, Frank was a little more upset than I was. That’s a tough rule. I was unaware of that rule.”
Aaron Gordon: “They gave them the game. For the most part, the refs did a good job throughout the game. Just down that stretch. It’s bad. You got to change the rule. The inadvertent whistle didn’t even give us a chance to win the game. That’s not how you play. That’s not how the game of basketball is supposed to go.”
Nikola Vucevic: “I don’t understand the rule. Pretty much any home team, if you’re up one and still got 1 second, as soon as somebody throws it, just run the clock, and if somebody touches it, it’s a jump ball. It doesn’t make any sense. I think they’ve got to look into that. That’s frustrating when things out of your hands hurt you. But at the same time, that’s not why we lost the game.”
Brook “did not get a rebound in 35 minutes” Lopez: “It was bizarre. I guess we had the game-winning jump ball. I’ve never seen that before.”
Lonzo Ball: “I’ve never seen that before but I’ll take the win.”