With seconds remaining, the Lakers got a defensive stop and had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer when LeBron James made a long jumper in transition.
LeBron’s clutch bucket deemed a 2 😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/KmzqEXMIBG
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) December 31, 2023
But the shot was ruled a 2-pointer, and a Pool Report interview following the game revealed an explanation of why the ruling was upheld after video review.
Many feel that James’ feet were behind the 3-point line and that he should have been credited with a game-tying basket. He was understandably upset over the ruling, and he took to social media afterward to show his frustration.
Nonetheless, the Lakers were very competitive throughout the game. They forged an early lead and remained on the Timberwolves’ heels all evening long. Even after the controversial ruling on James’ shot, they still had a chance to win. Down by a point, they fouled Anthony Edwards, who made one of his two ensuing free throws, but L.A. didn’t get off a shot before time expired.
James marked his 39th birthday with 26 points and six assists, while Anthony Davis had a monster performance to the tune of 33 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
However, no one else on the Lakers did anything of note offensively. As a team, they shot just 42.0 percent from the field and were 7-of-24 from behind the 3-point arc. Outside shooting has been a point of contention for L.A. for a while, and it cost them on this night.
Minnesota has the best record in the Western Conference and is an excellent defensive team, and while it is encouraging that the Lakers battled until the final horn, there are no moral victories at this level. They’re now 17-16 and have fallen to ninth place in the West. Los Angeles will play the New Orleans Pelicans, who are in seventh place, on Sunday before returning home.