The Magic lost a weird one to the Lakers last night. After Aaron Gordon drove through four defenders to put his team up one with five seconds left, Nikola Vucevic fouled Brook Lopez with 0.6 seconds left. Lopez nailed both free throws to give the Lakers a 108-107 lead, so the Magic’s only real chance of winning was to connect on a lob right at the rim. This was almost the same scenario the Magic faced against the Lakers in the 2009 Finals, when Courtney Lee famously boinked a game-winning layup set up by Hedo Turkoglu’s legendary block on Kobe Bryant.
Anyway, instead of the Magic missing a shot at the rim last night, they didn’t even get a chance to throw a real inbounds pass. The clock operator started too early, which meant that by the time Gordon tried to catch the rock, the game had ended. This early start was wrong, but officials ruled that since there was no possession when the clock went off, they’d reset the clock back to 0.6 and hoist a jump ball in the center circle. Lopez won the jump and the game ended.
Gordon was pissed:
“We feel cheated,” Orlando forward Aaron Gordon said afterward. “... 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.”
“They didn’t even give us a chance to win the game. That’s not how you play. That’s not how the game of basketball should go.”
Magic executives, however, were likely pleased with the outcome, since the loss kept the Magic locked in a five-way tie with the Kings, Nets, Mavericks, and Hawks for the third-worst record in the league.