NBA: Lakers benefitted from two blown calls late in win over Timberwolves

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The NBA admitted to two officiating errors in the final two minutes of the Lakers’ 119-115 win over the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Both were significant, and both boosted the Lakers 76ers.

Julius Randle scored with 1:04 left to put the Lakers up three. Just prior, he should’ve been called for travelling. NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Randle (LAL) moves his pivot foot after ending his dribble. The official is looking for any potential illegal contact and does not pick up the pivot foot.

A few possessions later, Randle forced an Andrew Wiggins turnover – by getting away with fouling Wiggins. NBA:

Randle (LAL) makes body to body contact with Wiggins (MIN) that affects his drive to the basket and causes him to lose control of the ball.

That play was reviewed to determine who touched the ball last before it went out of bounds, which leads to one of my gripes. If we’re going to stop play to review a call, why not get it right? The officials couldn’t review for a foul, just who touched the ball last. But the league clearly believes video review can determine fouls – hence the existence of these Last Two Minutes Reports. Delaying games for reviews can be tedious, but as long as the game is already halted, reviews should be used more fully.

As it is, officials probably saw their missed foul on Randle. They just couldn’t do anything about it. They correctly ruled Wiggins touched the ball last and gave the Lakers possession with a three-point lead and 17.9 seconds left.

Minnesota began intentionally fouling, and Kobe Bryant hit 6-of-6 free throws to ice the win for the Lakers – but, more importantly, the 76ers.

The result moved the Lakers one step closer to losing their top-three-protected first-round pick to Philadelphia.