Refs: Russell Westbrook Mistakenly Awarded Three Late Free-Throws vs Lakers

by January 18, 2019
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Referees admittedly blew the call Thursday night when they whistled Lonzo Ball for a shooting foul on Russell Westbrook at the end of regulation, awarding the Thunder guard three free-throws to tie the game and force overtime.

LeBron James, who was not on the road trip due to a groin strain, chimed in questioning the call.

Led by Kyle Kuzma‘s game-high 32 points, the Los Angeles Lakers beat OKC 138-128 in the extra session.

Per the AP:

“Upon being able to see the review of the play, we realized that the illegal contact happened prior to his upward motion, so it should have been a side-out,” [NBA crew chief Tom] Washington said.

Ball took responsibility for the situation.

“It’s my fault that he hit the free throws,” he said. “Maybe I should have fouled him earlier. But I had to wash it off.”

Ball bounced back with five points, two rebounds and an assist in overtime. [Luke] Walton was impressed with his second-year point guard’s overall effort, especially late in the game.

“For him to do that against Westbrook — I’m sure a player he watched growing up as one of the great point guards in our league — not only to score those points, but a couple of big assists to Zu coming down the lane, a big-time rebound. He can do a little bit of everything,” Walton said.

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