With the score tied 90-90 on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the Lakers’ Lou Williams drove on Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, hitting what looked like the go-ahead basket with 13.5 seconds left.
Instead, Williams was called for an offensive foul, a turnover that set up Dirk Nowitzki, who hit the game winner with 2.1 seconds left. The Mavericks escaped with a 92-90 win.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced, via its “last two minute report,” that the call was incorrect. Williams did not foul Barea.
Instead, Barea, “clamps and pulls Williams’ (LAL) arm on the drive, and then falls back from him. The trail official incorrectly makes the offensive call on Williams because he only sees Barea’s histrionics, not the clamp.”
“I knew that Lou Williams’ play should have been an and-one, if anything,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said after the game. “Or a no call at all.”
While the NBA didn’t agree that Barea fouled Williams, Scott was generally correct.
The NBA did not find any other incorrect calls or non-calls over the final two minutes of play.
The Lakers were disappointed at the loss, but the team may be better off, given their 2016 first-round pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers if it’s not a top-three selection (as part of the Steve Nash trade).
The Lakers (9-38) have the second-worst record in the NBA, behind only the 76ers (7-39), giving the Lakers a 55.8% chance of a top-three pick in May’s draft lottery. If the Lakers climb a spot in the standings, their lottery odds for a top-three selection will dip to 46.9%.
If they “catch” the improving 76ers, the Lakers’ chances climb to 64.3%.