LOS ANGELES -- The NBA's "Last Two Minute Report" ruled that there was an incorrect call at the end of the Orlando Magic-Los Angeles Lakers game and that the Magic should have maintained possession after a clock malfunction.
After the clock prematurely went off with six-tenths of a second remaining, the NBA Replay Center decided by rule that because there was a clock malfunction, the result was a jump ball at center court. The Lakers won the tip and the game, 108-107.
"The inbound pass, referees were reasonably certain that there was a clock malfunction and triggered an Instant Replay under Rule 13.1.a.5," the Two Minute Report said. "After review, it is confirmed that the game clock was inadvertently started by the referee crew and that time expired before the ball was touched. The clock is correctly reset to 0:00.6.
"However, since the pass was still in the air when the clock expired, the ball was still in ORL's possession and thus ORL should have retained possession on the sideline at the nearest spot. Had the ball been touched by LAL prior to the expiration of the clock, it would have been considered a loose ball and the jump ball ruling would have been correct."
After the loss, the Orlando players said they felt they were robbed of any chance of tying or winning the game.
"We feel cheated," Orlando forward Aaron Gordon said after the Magic's 108-107 loss. "... They gave them the game. ... It's just a terrible end to a game of basketball. They didn't even give us a chance to win. And that's the last time we see them [the Lakers]. We have to wait a year to play them again. They [the NBA] have gotta change that rule, and I think they will."
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) March 9, 2018
The Lakers had blown a nine-point lead in the final two minutes, allowing the Magic to go on a 10-0 run to take a 107-106 lead with five seconds left. Brook Lopez was fouled on the next possession and made two free throws to give the Lakers the lead again, setting the stage for the strange finish.
NBA crew chief Bill Spooner explained the rule to a pool reporter afterward.
"Because there's no possession when the clock goes off, the ruling is that there's a jump ball, center circle," Spooner said. "The rule is 13E-9-2. And anytime there is either an inadvertent whistle and/or a horn when the ball is in the air, there's no possession and we go center circle, jump ball."
Several Lakers said afterward they had no idea what the rule was or why the game ended the way it did. Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas said, simply, that the official explanation was "weird."
"I still don't even know how it ended," Thomas said, echoing a sentiment that was expressed throughout the Lakers' locker room. "I don't even know what the call was or whatever the case may be. But I am just glad we won. ... I mean, that sucks for the Magic. I am glad we won."
Orlando head coach Frank Vogel vehemently argued with officials and personnel at the scorer's table before slamming his clipboard on the table in protest as the ruling was made on the court.
"They took the ball from us and made it a jump ball with 0.6 seconds, which kills any chance of us tying the game or winning the game," Vogel said. "I don't know. It's just common sense would tell me that in that situation, the clock started early, that you do redo the possession. They felt otherwise."