NBA referee Scott Foster bloodied after collision with Lakers’ LeBron James in Game 3 vs. Nuggets


Late in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, LeBron James and referee Scott Foster were involved in a bizarre incident that left Foster bloodied and the Lakers complaining about a turnover. 

With just a few minutes to play in the half, Jamal Murray scored a layup to reach 30 points in what was a stunning opening 24 minutes for the Nuggets guard. The Lakers wasted no time getting the ball out of the basket and Austin Reaves tried to catch the Nuggets sleeping in transition. But his outlet pass never reached its intended target, in part because James collided with Foster near the sideline. 

As James turned to sprint up the floor, he ran straight into Foster, who did not seem to anticipate the move. As a result, James was knocked off stride and was unable to catch up to Reaves’ pass, which sailed all the way to the opposite baseline and out of bounds. 

The Lakers would have a better case if Reaves’ pass had already been in the air, but there’s no question that the clash impacted the outcome of the play. Unfortunately, for the Lakers, the refs are considered part of the court, and the contact was incidental so there’s no call that can be made. 

While the Lakers lost possession of the ball, Foster lost some blood. The veteran ref ended up with a cut on his lip and the game had to be stopped for an official timeout to stop the bleeding. During playoff games there is an alternate official at each game in case of a serious injury, but Foster was thankfully able to continue reffing. 

This moment won’t have much of an impact in the grand scheme of this game, and certainly not the series, but it will go down as one of the stranger events of the postseason.