Richard Jefferson on overturned call in Lakers-Nuggets Game 2: ‘Makes me question everything I know about basketball’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Former NBA player Richard Jefferson questioned the overturned foul call on Michael Porter Jr. in Game 2 of the Denver Nuggets-Los Angeles Lakers playoff series.

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell was struck in the face on a drive to the basket, but after review, the play was overturned to a non-foul on Porter, despite the contact to Russell.

Jefferson wondered how the play was deemed marginal contact when Russell was clearly hit – even if it was after he released the ball.

“I just want to talk about one specific play call and why I’m just confused by that,” Jefferson said. “If a player can jump up, ball can be gone, you can swing through and hit them in the face and that be marginal contact, then you’re allowed to hit 3-point shooters the same way – in their face. That’s the part I just do not understand.

“And then to review it and then to come back – we’re not saying it should be upgraded to a flagrant. We’re not saying anything. But, to reverse the call that was made on the court and say if the ball is gone, and then there was marginal contact. He got hit in the face, wasn’t a flagrant, just a simple foul. But that play right there, I’m just confused. I will never understand. That makes me question everything I know about basketball.”

The play was certainly a controversial one in a game that the Lakers ended up losing by two points on a game-winning shot from Jamal Murray.

The Lakers lost the game for more reasons than just one call, especially since the team struggled in the second half, getting outscored 57-40 by Denver. Still, it’s possible the end of the contest would’ve been different had Russell been awarded free throws for getting hit in the face.

Russell bounced back in Game 2 after shooting 6-for-20 from the field in Game 1, scoring 23 points for Los Angeles and hitting 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc.

The Lakers are going to need him to step up again in Game 3 on Thursday night with Los Angeles looking to avoid a 0-3 series deficit.

Not only did the Lakers go 0-3 against the Nuggets in the regular season in the 2023-24 campaign, but they have also lost six straight playoff matchups against them dating back to last season’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals.

Game 3 between the Lakers and Nuggets is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. PST from Arena in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Share This Article
Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.