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Last 2 Minute Report says Lance Stephenson elbow on Boban Marjanovic during Lakers-Clippers was offensive foul

Lance Stephenson, Boban Marjanovic

LeBron James made the headlines, and rightfully so. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar returned to action Thursday night after spending the previous five weeks on the sidelines, recovering from a groin strain he suffered on Christmas. James had 24 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists in his team’s overtime win over the L.A. Clippers, too, dusting off the rust that accumulated during the longest absence of his storied career.

But James didn’t beat his team’s cross-arena rival all by himself. Lance Stephenson was also integral to the Lakers’ crucial win, scoring 20 points on 10 field goal attempts and going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. His most notable moment came with under a minute remaining in overtime, with the purple and gold clinging to a two-point lead.

Stephenson, after catching a bounce pass from James in stride, took one dribble before rising off two feet for an and-1 layup past Clippers giant Boban Marjanovic. Officials reviewed the play for a flagrant act because it appeared Stephenson’s elbow made contact with Marjanovic’s head, an assumption replay confirmed but was nevertheless deemed accidental. The Last Two Minutes report released on Friday, though, reached a different conclusion – that Stephenson should have been called for an offensive foul.

What do you think? Stephenson clearly extends his left elbow, knocking Marjanovic in the head, but it’s not like the Clippers center exercised textbook verticality here, either. He turns his body and makes contact with Stephenson’s midsection rather than jumping straight up and down, with both hands high.

This is a call that could have gone either way. Fortunately for the Lakers, just a game back of the Clippers for eighth in the Western Conference after Thursday’s game, the basketball gods were on their side this time around, Last Two Minutes report be damned.