NBA

Durant refuses to pin Suns defeat to Lakers on controversial timeout

By Sports Desk December 06, 2023

Kevin Durant did not look to use a contentious timeout call as an excuse after the Phoenix Suns slipped to a 106-103 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Suns were left furious after the referee elected to call a timeout following LeBron James' call, when the ball appeared to be loose, late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's in-season tournament quarter-final.

With 15 seconds remaining, Davin Booker dispossessed Austin Reaves, with James swiftly requesting a timeout, which was granted.

Suns coach Frank Vogel fumed: "It's a loose ball, and you can't call a timeout on a loose ball.

"The whistle blows. I don't know why. Everything in the league is reviewable. I don't know why that can't be reviewable.

"We've got the trap, we've got the turnover, [and the] damn whistle blows. It's just frustrating."

Durant, though, did not share his coach's anger.

"That's not the ballgame," said Durant, who led the Suns with 31 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

"That's one play. It's a 48-minute game. I don't like to complain about calls.

"Sometimes the ref isn't going to get it right all the time. Sometimes it's on us to play through all that stuff and not worry about putting the game in the ref's hands."

Reaves added: "There was no call, and LeBron made a high-IQ play he's made a million times.

Vogel did, however, echo Durant's sentiment that the Suns did not do enough to win the tie and progress to Las Vegas.

"We didn't do enough early in the game," Vogel said. "The turnovers and on the glass, if we do a better job, we're not talking about a close game like that."

The Lakers will now face the New Orleans Pelicans for a place in the final of the inaugural in-season tournament, with the winner taking home the NBA Cup.

"You've got some of the most alpha male competitors in the world, and if you give us an opportunity to play for something meaningful or an incentive, then you get what you're getting," said James, who finished with 31 points and 11 assists.

"The in-season tournament is what it is, and we have an opportunity to play on a big stage, be on national television, represent our families, our communities, where we come from."

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