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Golden State Warriors defeat LA Lakers after ‘bizarre’ finale as arena announcer forced to announce shot clock

Steph Curry and LeBron James faced off against each other. Ashley Landis

A bizarre end to the game overshadowed the Golden State Warriors’ 128-121 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday at Crypto.com Arena, as a broken shot clock and controversial call overruling a LeBron James three-pointer conspired to add a 23-minute delay to the game’s final two minutes.

With less than two minutes remaining and the Lakers trailing the Warriors by just four points, the latest chapter in their rivalry seemed to be heading towards a thrilling conclusion.

But James’ three-pointer was scratched out after he netted it when officials ruled that he had stepped out of bounds, increasing the Lakers’ deficit to seven with just 1:50 remaining.

Then, the shot clock malfunctioned and after several attempts to restart the game and fix the clock, referees eventually determined that the arena PA announcer would announce the time left on the clock at five second intervals in real time.

The shot clock became stuck forcing the announcer to call the seconds left on it in the last two minutes of the game. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

“I’ve never seen that be called before like that – in that particular time,” James said afterwards, according to ESPN. “That was kind of weird. … It took some momentum away from us.”

He finished the game with 40 points, matching his season high, nine assists and eight rebounds, as he attempted to drag his team to victory without Anthony Davis, who had left the game with an injury after the first quarter.

James’ longtime rival Steph Curry contributed 31 points for the Warriors as he returned to the court after three games away with a sprained right ankle, while Klay Thompson added 26 points from the bench.

“(The ending) was bizarre.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters afterwards. “It seems a few times a year you get clock issues. That’s about as extreme as I’ve ever been a part of where the back up unit doesn’t work either. It’s unfortunate, I felt bad for the fans.

“That was a great game and all of a sudden, the last two minutes everyone is just kind of looking at each other wondering what to do.”

Steph Curry added 31 points on his return from injury. Ashley Landis/AP

It had been a finely poised game throughout even after the Lakers had lost Davis and his defensive nous, which allowed the Warriors to attack more from inside the paint, racking up points in that area of the court.

But the game’s “flow” was interrupted following the challenge to James’ three-pointer, Kerr said afterward, adding he would “love to see that rule go away.”

“We’re trying so hard to get everything just right at the expense of the flow. Who cares if the guy’s foot is half an inch (over) … is that worth going back 45 seconds and changing everything?”

James, however, defended the decision, adding that while it was “unfortunate what happened,” the referees “have a job to do, and they have to do it the best they can.”

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