LeBron James’ shoe falls off during potentially game-winning possession in Lakers’ wild loss to Hornets

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The end of Friday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets probably isn’t what Dr. James Naismith imagined when he invented the modern game of basketball. The final minute of the Lakers’ 134-130 loss was marked by goaltending calls, turnovers and an incredible moment involving LeBron James.

With six seconds left in the game, the Lakers were down by two points, with a chance to tie or take the lead. James took the sideline inbounds pass from Patrick Beverley and quickly started his drive toward the basket. The problem? Only one of his shoes decided to go with him.

As he tried to plant on his socked foot, he slipped over the Lakers logo on the Crypto.com Arena floor and fell against the hardwood. Credit to James for being aware of finding Dennis Schroder in the corner before he was called for a traveling violation or dropped the ball out of bounds. Schroder actually ended up with a wide-open look, but the shot didn’t fall and the Lakers came away with the same “L” that LeBron slipped on.

This was the craziest part of an incredibly confusing and sloppy finish to the match. In a tied game with 42 seconds left, LaMelo Ball made a horrible bounce pass that landed right in the hands of Lakers guard Austin Reaves, who quickly dribbled down the floor on a fast break. Reaves threw a pass that appeared to be aimed at Beverley, but both Beverley and a trailing Russell Westbrook both got a hand on the ball as it ricocheted out of bounds.

What turned out to be the game-winning basket by Hornets forward Gordon Hayward didn’t even go through the hoop. Hayward grabbed the offensive rebound after a missed 3-pointer by Terry Rozier and quickly put the ball back off the glass, but it rolled off the rim. A replay review confirmed that James touched the ball after Hayward’s shot hit the backboard, therefore it was ruled a goalie and two points for Charlotte.

This was a wild way to lose a very winnable game for the Lakers, especially after erasing a 16-point deficit in the second half. With Anthony Davis out for at least another week or so, the Lakers absolutely must win games against the league’s bottom feeders (Charlotte entered the game with eight wins) if they are to have any chance of making it into the Western Conference playoff picture.

James scored 18 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and also finished with eight assists, while Reaves added 20 points off the bench. The Lakers will look to right the ship on Christmas Day in a tough matchup against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

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