Orlando Magic power forward Aaron Gordon said the team feels "cheated" after a controversial jump-ball ruling late in Wednesday night's 108-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com passed along comments from Gordon after an error by the clock operator caused the buzzer to sound early on an inbound play within the game's final second, which led the referees to award a jump ball rather than another possession for Orlando.
"We feel cheated," he said. "... They gave them the game. ... It's just a terrible end to a game of basketball. They didn't even give us a chance to win. And that's the last time we see them [the Lakers]. We have to wait a year to play them again. They [the NBA] have gotta change that rule, and I think they will."
NBA crew chief Bill Spooner confirmed afterward the right decision was made based on the unique circumstances of the situation, per Youngmisuk.
"Because there's no possession when the clock goes off, the ruling is that there's a jump ball, center circle," he said. "The rule is 13E-9-2. And anytime there is either an inadvertent whistle and/or a horn when the ball is in the air, there's no possession and we go center circle, jump ball."
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Nevertheless, Gordon reiterated to reporters the rule needs to change and said while the officials "did a good job throughout the game," he felt they made mistakes down the stretch that cost Orlando the game.
"It's bad," he said. "So they have gotta change the rule [for an] inadvertent whistle. They didn't even give us a chance to win the game. That's not how you play. That's not how the game of basketball should go."
Gordon, who's enjoying a breakout campaign for the Magic, tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds in the loss. It was his 15th double-double in 47 appearances this season.
The 22-year-old University of Arizona product could now face NBA discipline for public criticism of the referees, though.