Quite unsurprisingly, the league backed up its officials on Sunday following the controversial ending of Saturday’s Lakers-Wolves game surrounding LeBron James’ potential game-tying shot.
The Last Two Minute Report said the correct call was made in ruling LeBron’s shot a 2-pointer due to there not being “clear and conclusive visual evidence” to the contrary.
Here’s the full comment given by the league on the play:
James’ (LAL) successful shot attempt was initially ruled a two-point shot by on-court referees. Upon review by the NBA Replay Center Official, there was not clear and conclusive visual evidence that the on-court ruling was incorrect, and therefore no basis to overturn that ruling. When James raises his heels to jump for his shot, the replay shows his right foot rolling forward so that the toe of his shoe contacts the three-point line. For a player’s shot to be scored a three-point field goal, the player may not touch the three-point line until after his shot is released.
A frantic comeback in the final minutes of the game effectively came down to that shot from LeBron. After forcing a step late, LeBron’s shot in transition with the Lakers trailing by three points looked to be behind the arc in real-time. However, officials called it a 2-pointer and went to the monitor to review.
This LeBron James bucket was called a two after further review pic.twitter.com/6fudDbdlL0— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 31, 2023
Admittedly, it was a very, very close call but one that seemed to show LeBron’s shoe hovering over the 3-point line rather than actually touching it. Nonetheless, and despite vociferous protests from LeBron, the officials stuck with the call on the floor, ruling it a 2-pointer to leave the Lakers down by one.
As a result, the Lakers were forced to foul and would lose the game, a tough blow against one of the top teams in the Western Conference on a night when the team did enough to win.
Postgame, LeBron stuck to his guns, as you would expect, and remained adamant that it was a 3-pointer.
LeBron James:— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 31, 2023
"It's obviously a three. My foot was behind the line... Stevie Wonder could see that, champ... Someone over there with a ham sandwich made the call." pic.twitter.com/Bi8wTMz7cf
The Lakers have been at the center of a whole host of controversial calls reviewed by the league at the end of games over the last two seasons. And last year, it was a whole lot of “Sorry, we got that wrong!” from the NBA in hindsight.
Have to say, though, being on this side of it doesn’t feel any better either!
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.