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#pounditSunday, July 21, 2024

D’Angelo Russell complains on social media about officiating after G2 loss

DAngelo Russell holding a ball

May 6, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) moves the ball up court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half in game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

D’Angelo Russell couldn’t help but let off some steam after the Los Angeles Lakers’ devastating Game 2 loss.

The Lakers fell at the buzzer to the Denver Nuggets on Monday in an epic game. After trailing by 20 points in the second half, Denver came roaring back and won the game on an incredible Jamal Murray stepback as time expired (video here).

About an hour after the heartbreaking ending for the Lakers, Russell took to X to complain about the officiating, particularly what he saw as one specific missed call.

“That’s a foul we all saw it on national television,” wrote Russell.

The former All-Star Russell was referencing an overturned foul call in the final minute of the third quarter (when the Lakers were up 79-69). He was hit in the face by Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. on a drive to the basket, and the whistle blew. But the Nuggets challenged the foul call and successfully got it overturned. Thus, instead of two free throws for Russell, Denver got the ball back and entered the fourth quarter with some momentum.

Here is the video of the play, which was shown extensively on the TNT broadcast during the review.

While the optics of that overturned foul call don’t look great, it was probably the correct decision. The contact was deemed marginal because the ball was already out of Russell’s hands, and thereby the blow to the face didn’t affect the shot at all. It was also a different situation from contact occurring after the release of a shot by a jump shooter, which is still a foul if the defender encroaches on the offensive player’s landing space (as the league wants to prevent injuries that can occur on those plays).

Russell’s criticism also rings hollow because the Lakers still had a full 12 minutes after the overturned call to hold their double-digit lead and finish off the job, yet failed to do so. But you can somewhat understand Russell’s frustration since he had a tremendous game on Monday with 23 points on seven three-pointers (after getting roasted to Saturn for his Game 1 dud) and yet still had to take the L.

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