ORLANDO -- The NBA released it's report on the last two minutes of the Wizards' regular-season opening win vs. the Magic on Thursday, and it doesn't clarify the confusion when it comes to an overturned goal-tending call. But what it does say is the final shot attempt from Nikola Vucevic should've been waved off.
The goaltending call: With the Magic trailing 88-87, Tobias Harris drove on Otto Porter, lofted his shot over the help defense of Marcin Gortat as it hung on the back of the rim. Gortat missed the block and slapped the glass. Bradley Beal of the Wizards and Vucevic went for the rebound. Vucevic got there first. He restrained himself on the first jump, but on the second one he clearly touched the ball. Then Beal, who was behind Vucevic, hit it after it cleared the cylinder.
The confusion: The goaltend was originally assessed to Gortat, though the player in question was Beal. And in the pool report distributed to media after the game, there's a reference to an "illegal touch" -- the name of the player isn't specified but it's safe to guess it was a reference to Beal -- that was then deemed to be "a legal touch" upon review by the Replay Center in Secausus, N.J., which makes the final determination.
The confusion, part II: The Magic, not the Wizards were awarded the ball with 3.5 seconds left for a final shot attempt. It appears that happened because Victor Oladipo ended up with the ball in the scramble for the ball. It wasn't a jump ball situation which seemed to be the fair solution if Vucevic isn't deemed the "illegal" toucher (though he should've been which should've given the ball to Washington).
Imagine the talking points Thursday had the Wizards lost as a result of a final shot for the Magic that shouldn't have happened?
"I have no idea. I got a call into the league. Never heard of illegal touching," Wittman said after Thursday's practice. "I told the refs, ‘If it’s illegal then it’s not fair’. What is illegal? I think they meant it was a legal touch. Looking at it, the ball was coming off the rim when Vucevic touched it. I think they meant they blew the whistle saying it was goaltending on us, so they had that wrong. But I think they mean it was a legal touch (by Beal). They said it wrong."
Orlando had one more shot at it, and Vucevic was the player singled out in the report. When a game is within five points in the final two minutes, the NBA releases the officiating reports.
Vucevic caught the inbound, gave an up-fake to Gortat, split his feet before putting the ball on the floor -- a traveling violation because he picks up both feet simultaneously -- and pulls up for a foul line jumper that wasn't close.
The league says the violation was "observable in enhanced video," which can be interpreted as that it wasn't observable otherwise.