Refs blew 3 crucial calls in final minutes of Rockets-Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers benefited from two officiating mistakes in the final minutes of their nail-biting 124-122 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, according to the Last Two Minute Report released by the NBA.
In total, the L2M report points out three moments where game officials — John Goble, Curtis Blair, and Eric Dalen — made errors in closing moments of the Staples Center regular-season finale.
First, the NBA ruled that the refs missed a shooting foul committed by Rockets wing Jae’Sean Tate on a Kyle Kuzma jumper with 1:27 left and the Lakers leading 121-116 — while acknowledging that Kuzma initiated the contact. (You can watch the clip here and decide for yourself.)
Then, at the 1:07 mark, the officials incorrectly whistled Kelly Olynyk for a reach-in foul on Kuzma, per the league. The call stopped a potential steal and layup opportunity for the Rockets big.
“Olynyk (HOU) makes contact with the ball and the part of Kuzma’s (LAL) hand that is on the ball, and dislodges it away before any incidental contact occurs,” writes the L2M.
Finally, on the biggest possession of the game — with 16.4 seconds left and the Lakers trailing by one — the refs missed steps on Talen Horton-Tucker, who illegally “moves his pivot foot after picking up his dribble in the lane.”
The under-manned Lakers nearly gave the game away to the bottom-feeding Rockets — a result that would have locked L.A. into the play-in tournament and concluded banner night on a particularly sour note.
The Lakers went into a scoreless drought for the final three minutes before Kuzma’s score then a Wesley Matthews heads-up steal snatched victory from the jaws of disastrous defeat.
According to the L2M, the Lakers, in part, have the refs to thank. Start your conspiracies.