Lakers vs. Suns timeout controversy, explained: Why Devin Booker sounded off on officials after Phoenix’s loss

The Lakers were able to move to the Semifinals of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament, but their advancement was not without controversy.

In the final seconds of their 106-103 win over the Suns, the Lakers appeared to benefit from a timeout call that many believed shouldn’t have happened.

The call drew the ire of most of the Suns team. Both Phoenix coach Frank Vogel and the team’s star guard Devin Booker sounded off about the granted timeout after the loss, which played a part in their elimination from the In-Season Tournament.

Here’s what to know about the timeout call and what each team was saying about it after the game.

MORE: Breaking down LeBron James’ historic stat line from Lakers’ win over Suns

Lakers vs. Suns timeout controversy

The controversial timeout in the Lakers vs. Suns game occurred with 7.4 seconds remaining in regulation. It came after the Lakers — leading 105-103 — inbounded the ball to guard Austin Reaves with 11.2 seconds remaining in the contest.

The Suns attempted to trap Reaves in the corner with a double team that featured Booker and Kevin Durant. Reaves was lightly bumped by Booker as Durant came over and appeared to poke the ball out of Reaves’ hands.

However, as the ball skittered toward the basket, the officials blew the whistle. They ruled that the Lakers had called a timeout before the ball had squirted loose, and that allowed them to retain possession of it.

The whistle seemingly came well after the ball had been jarred loose from Reaves’ hands, though an angle from behind showed that the third-year guard had briefly pinned the ball against his leg before losing it.

Many on the Suns were unhappy with the call, which contributed to their three-point loss against the top-seeded Lakers.

MORE: The same issues are plaguing the Celtics after In-Season Tournament loss

What Devin Booker, Kevin Durant said about Lakers timeout

Booker was among the Suns players who expressed displeasure with the timeout call granted to the Lakers. He called out the officials during his postgame news conference, telling a reporter who asked about the call “you know what happened.”

“The whole world seen it,” Booker said. “I just got off social media and other players around the league seen it. It is what it is. Refs miss calls sometimes but when they’re a bit — that obvious, it’s tough.”

Vogel agreed with his star player’s thoughts. He expressed both confusion and frustration about the officials’ decision to grant the Lakers a timeout when it didn’t appear that Los Angeles had possession.

“It’s a loose ball, and you can’t call a timeout on a loose ball,” he told reporters, per ESPN. “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.”

That said, while both Booker and Vogel were willing to call out the officials for their decision, Durant was not.

The former MVP expressed that he believed the Lakers had possession of the ball when the timeout was first called. As such, he was fine with the decision and insisted that wasn’t what ultimately cost the Suns a chance to play in Vegas.

“That’s not the ballgame,” Durant said. “That’s one play. It’s a 48-minute game. I don’t like to complain about calls. Sometimes the ref ain’t going to get it right all the time. Sometimes it’s on us to play through all that stuff and not worry about putting the game in the ref’s hands.”

So, the officials had at least one key member of the adversely impacted team on their side after the game.

MORE: Explaining all you need to know about how the In-Season Tournament works

What Lakers said about controversial timeout

Naturally, the Lakers spoke comparatively little about the timeout decision. That said, Reaves was asked about the play and he opined that he had been fouled by Booker before the ball was jarred loose, so the Lakers should have retained possession either way.

He also credited LeBron James for managing to get the timeout called in time to save him from a costly turnover.

“There was no call, and LeBron made a high-IQ play he’s made a million times,” Reaves said.

MORE: Breaking down the full NBA In-Season Tournament bracket

Officials explain Lakers vs. Suns timeout call

Crew chief Josh Tiven was asked about the timeout granted to the Lakers during a postgame pool report. Here’s what he said about the play in question:

During live play the official felt that LA still had possession of the ball when LeBron James requested the timeout.  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.

Indeed, looking at the play from behind, it does appear that Reaves was able to possess the ball against his left leg briefly before it was jarred loose. That lasted long enough for the Lakers to get in the critical timeout and retain possession in the final 7.4 seconds.

Still, it’s easy to understand why Suns fans were upset. It was a close call in a tight, win-or-be-eliminated game that cost the team a chance to get one more possession at the end of regulation.

Source : ESPN.com

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