Russell Westbrook says Joel Embiid fouled him on botched final possession

LOS ANGELES — For the second straight recreation, the Los Angeles Lakers could not shut out a winnable recreation within the clutch. And for the second straight recreation, the Lakers had been left lamenting a foul they believed went uncalled that affected the end result.

After Sunday’s 113-112 loss to Philadelphia, Russell Westbrook claimed Sixers heart Joel Embiid grabbed his arm on LA’s final offensive possession when the Lakers guard was trying a possible game-winning layup with 3 seconds remaining.

“I used to be making an attempt to get my hand up,” Westbrook defined afterwards. “I could not get my hand as much as shoot as a result of [Embiid] was grabbing it. But it is all good.”

Westbrook confirmed a small group of reporters a screenshot on his cellular phone that appeared to point out Embiid’s left hand clutching Westbrook’s proper wrist because the 2017 league MVP began his assault dribble in direction of the basket.

The official field rating awarded Sixers ahead Georges Niang with a block on Westbrook’s shot try with 3.0 seconds remaining and Embiid a defensive rebound with 1.0 seconds left as he corralled the unfastened ball earlier than the buzzer to shut issues out.

Embiid disagreed with Westbrook’s take on the sequence.

“I do not assume I fouled him,” Embiid mentioned. “Physical play on each side. You may have known as a foul on the opposite finish, too, on the bump. So, it goes each methods.”

Then, in typical Embiid trend, the Philadelphia massive man gave his model of occasions with a little bit of a wink-wink.

“They had been pushing the ball in transition and he was in entrance of me and I simply waved all people else off. I consider I’m a terrific defender, so I consider I can get a cease on anyone,” Embiid mentioned. “[Westbrook] was really unfortunate as a result of he misplaced the ball after which from there, he sort of had nothing else going.

“Yeah, I might say it was unfortunate.”

The loss, which was the Lakers’ third straight and got here on the heels of a defeat in opposition to the Dallas Mavericks in double-overtime Thursday, dropped LA to 19-24, thirteenth within the 15-team Western Conference.

“It’s simply irritating,” LeBron James mentioned. “Getting in these positions and never with the ability to come out with the victory. … We’re enjoying good basketball. We’re simply not successful video games.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham defended each his resolution to not name timeout with 13.1 seconds remaining when Westbrook rebounded an Embiid miss on the defensive finish and the truth that Westbrook was the one to orchestrate the final possession as a substitute of James.

“Down one, you have obtained one in every of our greatest playmakers to the rim, one in every of our greatest finishers on the rim, has the ball with Embiid standing in entrance of him,” Ham mentioned. “I’ll take that state of affairs on daily basis of the week and twice on Sunday.

“We simply obtained to complete the play. That’s it. Make a tougher, stronger transfer to the rim. That’s it. It’s so simple as that. And it simply did not work out.”

Before the sport, with Anthony Davis (proper foot stress response), Patrick Beverley (non-COVID-19 sickness), Austin Reaves (left hamstring pressure) and Lonnie Walker IV (left knee tendinitis) all out, Ham mentioned that the one two automated selections for his closing lineup could be James and Westbrook.

Despite the end mirroring different late-game conditions that resulted in losses for the Lakers this season in opposition to the Portland Trail Blazers and LA Clippers when the opposing crew’s heart guarded Westbrook in crunch time and Westbrook did not capitalize, Ham doubled down on his help of his level guard

“Just being down one level and the ball is in Russell Westbrook’s hand, I’m snug with that. I do not know the way a lot I can reiterate that. If it was Bron, it might be the identical factor,” Ham mentioned. . “It’s disappointing that we misplaced. And it is disappointing that we could not shut the sport out. But make no mistake about it, down one with the ball in Russ’ palms with Embiid standing in entrance of him, I’ve confidence in my participant . And that is not going to vary. We simply obtained to make a greater play.”

The finish spoiled an in any other case splendid night time for Westbrook individually and the Lakers as a crew. Westbrook had 20 factors, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, changing into the all-time chief in triple-doubles for a substitute by logging the fourth of his profession.

James scored 35 factors on 15-for-23 taking pictures, with 10 assists and eight rebounds, and moved his profession scoring whole previous 38,000 factors — changing into the youngest participant ever to succeed in the mark and simply the second participant ever to do it after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time scoring chief with 38,387 factors.

“The neatest thing about this league is you get a chance to redeem your self in a short time,” mentioned James, who was terse throughout his postgame remarks, nonetheless reeling from the loss. “You nonetheless get a chance to be higher the subsequent day.

“We obtained one other one tomorrow and we obtained to be able to play in opposition to a younger, quick, energetic Houston Rockets crew.”

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