Sports writers and Lakers fans claim that a replay in the final seconds of the Christmas Day NBA game between the L.A. Lakers (24-7) and their division rivals the L.A. Clippers violated the "spirit of the rule."
The Clippers (23-10) won the game 111-106 after point guard Patrick Beverley blocked a three point shot attempt by Lakers forward LeBron James late in the 4th quarter. The ball went out of bounds while the Lakers were down 3 points with three seconds left on the clock. After reviewing the replay, NBA refs confirmed the ball went off James' fingertips.
Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard received the inbounds pass and was fouled. He made both of his free throws to seal the win.
The replay call sparked heavy criticism online, that the NBA's replay protocol needs to be changed.
"The defender strips the ball clean out of the offensive player's hands, the ball goes out of bounds, possession stays with the offense," CBS Sports argued.
CBS Sports added that, it's only natural, when an offensive player has the ball knocked out of his hands, "that the ball is going to graze his fingertips. He should still keep possession of the ball."
CBS Sports claims the out-of-bounds replay has "cost numerous teams on numerous occasions," because it puts "the play through a magnified, frame-by-frame digital interrogation."
"There's a responsibility not to compromise the entertainment value of the game in search of an impossible standard of officiating perfection."
Other reporters made similar arguments, that the game shouldn't be decided based on the offensive player's fingertips grazing the ball before it goes out-of-bounds.
"It's clearly off LeBron. He touched [the ball] last. That's not the point of this," tweeted ESPN NBA writer Royce Young, who added, the ball should automatically be off the defender who knocked it out of the offensive player's hands.
"Such absolute nonsense. We need a rule, because it's simply common sense... Beverley is the one that knocked it out. Fix this, NBA," he tweeted.
But James, 35, insists the game wasn't decided by that blocked shot.
"That wasn't the game right there," he said. "I mean, it's a big play and you want to try to get it right, but it wasn't where the game was lost."
The Clippers are now 2-0 over the Lakers this season. The two teams meet again on January 28.
according to my episode with Monty McCutchen, the competition committee discussed making these calls be out on the player who caused the ball to go out, not the offensive player who replay shows grazed the ball last.
— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) December 26, 2019