The game had everything the NBA could’ve wanted. A high-stakes regular season game featuring stars on both teams, a national spotlight, engaged fans and even a controversial call.
With under ten seconds left, the Lakers were up by one and LeBron James inbounded the ball to Austin Reaves. He was immediately doubled by Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, who applied pressure on the Laker guard, who began falling to the ground. James signaled for a timeout while both Suns players began wrestling with Reaves for possession. The referees granted L.A. the timeout, much to the dismay of Booker, who immediately began protesting the call.
Further deliberation didn’t change the ruling, and after the timeout, Anthony Davis was fouled and split a pair of free throws, making it a 3-point game. Durant took the inbounds coast to coast but airballed the 3-pointer ending the game.
After the game, the ruling was one of the key talking points and Booker took to Instagram to share a cryptic emoji.
Devin Booker's Instagram story... pic.twitter.com/t0saipHexf— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) December 6, 2023
It wasn’t just on social media where Booker made his feelings known. In his postgame presser he made it clear he thought the call was wrong. “Refs miss calls sometimes, but when there a bit that obvious it’s tough,” Booker said.
Devin Booker on the Lakers being granted a timeout while there seemed to be a loose ball: “We’re not asking for favoritism, just a fair chance.”— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) December 6, 2023
Full comments: pic.twitter.com/feSuW3Nmxt
Feeling like you lost due to a bad call is tough but it's hard to empathize with Booker when his team was already trailing, he initiated contact on Reaves and could’ve easily been called for a foul himself, his team had 22 turnovers on the night, and he shot 6-16 from the field. Maybe some self-reflection on why they were trailing to begin with is a better use of one's time.
Or you could go the Jusuf Nurkic route and score just three points thanks to Davis shutting you down and retweet professional heel Skip Bayless claiming “The Suns just got screwed”.
Never thought this mf will be right lol https://t.co/Q8ERRi0nzb— Jusuf Nurkić (@bosnianbeast27) December 6, 2023
Either way, the Lakers won and all that’s left besides the Lakers boarding a plane to Las Vegas is the crying of a Suns team that lost a game they were outplayed in for the majority of the matchup.
Booker is an elite guard and one of the best players in the league, but this kind of complaining just puts him in a bad if not comical light. Perhaps he should listen to himself just a couple of seasons ago when people were questioning Phoenix’s run due to their opponents having significant injuries. He threw cold water on those claims and essentially said he didn’t want to hear about what-if scenarios.
He was right then and he’s wrong now. Maybe the Suns are just caught in the moment and have NBA Cup fever or maybe this will eat at them all year. I guess we’ll have to keep checking Booker’s IG Story to find out.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.