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NBA referee addresses controversial foul call on Lonzo Ball late in Lakers-Thunder match

NBA

The Los Angeles Lakers almost escaped with a three-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in regulation, but sophomore guard Lonzo Ball was called for a foul with 2.9 seconds left to play. The foul eventually gave Russell Westbrook three free-throws, which he converted to force overtime.

While Ball had no business touching Westbrook because they were in a win-or-overtime situation, Lakers fans fumed about the decision to give Westbrook three free-throws. Even Lakers superstar LeBron James took to Twitter to question why the referees decided to call it a shooting foul.

Following the match, NBA referee Tom Washington admitted that the foul from Ball in the dying seconds of the match was not a shooting foul. He pointed out that the referee who called the foul thought that Westbrook was already in shooting motion when Ball committed an illegal contact.

Washington also clarified that the officials had no chance to review whether or not it was a shooting foul because there was no trigger to do so.

Good thing for the Lakers, Ball provided a huge lift overtime, as he scored five of their first seven points in the extra period. The Lakers managed to sustain the momentum, as they escaped with a 138-128 win over the Thunder, who led by as much as 17 points in the first quarter.

Kyle Kuzma was a man on a mission on Thursday night, as he ended up with 32 points and eight boards to go along with four assists and three steals. Ivica Zubac provided a huge boost off the bench as well with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Ball ended up with 18 points on top of 10 assists and six boards.

The Lakers regained the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings after improving to 25-21. Los Angeles has been playing without superstar LeBron James, who sustained a groin injury during their Christmas Day game against the Golden State Warriors.