Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James collided with referee Scott Foster during the fourth quarter of Game 3 in their Western Conference Finals loss to Denver Nuggets on Saturday at the Crypto.com Arena, unknowingly leaving the referee bloodied. The incident happened with 2:29 remaining in the second quarter, right after Denver led 55-48 thanks to a quick jumper by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.
Foster did not appear to anticipate the maneuver as James turned to sprint up the floor and collided with him. James was thrown off balance as a result and was unable to grab Reaves' pass before it flew all the way to the other baseline and out of bounds.
There is little doubt that the collision had an impact on the outcome of the play, but the Lakers would have a stronger argument if Reaves' pass had already been in the air. Sadly for the Lakers, since the officials are regarded as being a part of the court and the contact was only incidental, there is no way to make a call.
Foster suffered some bleeding after the Lakers lost control of the ball. The seasoned referee ended up bleeding from a cut on his lip, so the game had to be paused for an official timeout. Foster was thankfully able to continue officiating despite the fact that there is an alternate official present at every game during playoff games in case of a major injury.
A hilarious interaction took place between Lebron James and Scott Foster after the collision. James tried to apologize for the collision as he said, "I was already in sprint mode man, my bad”. To which the referee replied cheekily, “All good, you have been wanting to do that for 25 years."
This funny reaction by the match official has gained a lot of attention online. The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the conference finals. The Nuggets are enjoying a strong lead as they have won all three previous games while the Lakers are down 3-0 and no team has ever won a playoff series in the history of the NBA after losing the first three games.