During Game 3 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, crew chief Scott Foster found himself on the receiving end of an unintentional collision with LeBron James.
Big Time Collision
The accidental incident occurred with 2:29 remaining in the second quarter. After Jamal Murray made a short jumper, giving the Denver Nuggets a 55-48 lead, LeBron James turned to quickly transition back on defense. As James accelerated in a sprint, he collided with Scott Foster, who bore the brunt of the impact in his face, causing some bleeding. Foster had his whistle in his mouth at the time of the collision.
A medical staffer from the Lakers attended to Foster, stemming the bleeding. Foster reassured referee Bill Kennedy that he was fine to continue officiating the game. At halftime, the Nuggets held a 58-55 lead, with Jamal Murray leading the charge with 30 points. Murray had previously scored 37 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter, in the Nuggets’ Game 2 victory.
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Despite the impact, Foster continued to officiate the game and appeared to be in good spirits when play resumed. As one of the NBA’s most experienced officials with 29 seasons under his belt, Foster has garnered attention and some controversy over the years, particularly for questionable decisions, especially during the playoffs. His relationship with Chris Paul, a close friend of LeBron James, is noteworthy, as Paul has a record of 2-17 in postseason games officiated by Foster.
However, it is important to note that no official deserves to be struck in the face, even unintentionally. As the Lakers trailed 58-55 at halftime and faced a 2-0 deficit in the series, they can only hope that the incident will not affect Foster’s officiating or his interactions with the team moving forward.