The LA Clippers lost a hard-fought battle with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night, but the contest wasn't without controversy.
After battling back from a 15-point deficit earlier in the fourth quarter, the Clippers put themselves in position to tie or win the game with 11 seconds left on the clock — enough time for one final possession. With his team down 110-108, Kawhi Leonard caught the inbounds pass and began to drive toward the rim. He fought through contact from James Harden on his way to the basket, extended on his way up and finished the shot, but was called for an offensive foul immediately after.
The call was met with criticism from some of ESPN's broadcast crew, while the consensus on social media seems to suggest that it should have been a no-call.
Leonard had his own take on what happened during the pivotal play.
"My take from it is if we're going to pretty much play bully ball at the end of the game, you know, let both sides play it," Leonard said. "But they didn't call it, so good defense. I felt that I got grabbed early, but like I said, no call, so great defense."
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue also voiced his thoughts on how the game was decided.
"They called it, so there's nothing you can do about it now," Lue said. "I'm not a big complain guy, but some guys said he had his arm before Kawhi was able to push off... I don't know, because I didn't look at it. To me, the game was over, and there was nothing you could do about it, so it is what it is."
The Clippers would lose the game by a final score of 112-108, but the controversial foul call wasn't the only reason for that outcome. Lue felt that the Nets won the game by Brooklyn scoring 27 points off of LA's 17 turnovers, while others pointed out the disparity between how many more points in the paint the Nets scored compared to the Clippers. Brooklyn outscored LA 60-38 in that department.
Leonard still had an efficient outing, recording 29 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a steal in 39 minutes. Paul George, who had to sit late in the fourth quarter due to a minutes restriction, went for 34 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a steal in 32 minutes.
With the loss, the Clippers fell to 22-10 on the season and three games back of first place in the Western Conference standings. They'll get their shot at redemption on Tuesday when they host Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards.