In the final moments of Saturday's Wizards loss to the Clippers at Staples Center, things got a little weird.
There were 1.2 seconds on the clock and the Wizards got the ball into Bradley Beal's hands, exactly what they wanted. But the clock started early, about .2 seconds early, and Beal wasn't able to get his shot off in time. Though the shot went in, the buzzer had already gone off.
Once the refs realized what happened, they reveiwed the play and gave the Wizards another chance. But this time it was with 1.1 seconds and the Wizards were inbounding the ball closer to the baseline.
After getting Beal open enough to catch the ball and get a shot off, the do-over was a disaster. Center Marcin Gortat got the ball and had no choice but to attempt a fading shot from about 21 feet out. With Beal, Otto Porter and other shooters on the floor, that wasn't even close to the plan.
Following the game, the Wizards' 10th straight loss to the Clippers at Staples Center, Beal and referee Bill Spooner gave their explanation for what happened on the first attempt. First, Beal shared his side.
"Excuse my language because I’m going to say verbatim what they said," Beal said. "They said it’s kind of a 'some s*** rule,' it’s a freak rule. To me, it didn’t really make sense because you take a basket away. You go back and he says we get the same amount of time, but we didn’t get the same amount of time and then we get the ball in the corner. It’s kind of the tough s*** rule. I don’t understand it. I don’t get it. We ran a great play and now that you take that away, we’ve gotta set up with a different play and they get a chance to set up and change some things. Now we’ve gotta do a different play with the ball in the corner."
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Basically, the clock operator screwed up and the Wizards were hurt by it. Here's what Spooner told pool reporter Todd Dybas of the Washington Times:
"We had a clock malfunction, early start," Spooner said, confirming what everyone saw on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast. "The crew actually incorrectly reset the shot-clock to 1.1, we should have reset it to 0.1. The reason is, on an early start, we timed the possession, the lost time. The only time that was lost was 0.1. So we should have inbounded the ball at the point of interruption, which is what we did, but it should have been at 0.1 instead of 1.1."
On why the location of the inbounds changed:
"We had a clock malfunction, early start."
So, by that explanation, the Wizards were done a favor with 1.1 on the clock instead of 0.1. That doesn't make much sense, but those are the NBA rules.
Here is the play, if Wizards fans have the stomach to revisit it:
Here's a look at the controversial last play between the Wizards and Clippers today. The clock clearly started early. pic.twitter.com/jVpRSuD2Qy— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) December 10, 2017
The Clippers basically benefitted from a fluke incident, a mistake by the clock operator, and there nothing the refs could really do about it. The Wizards may feel like what happened was unfair, but they know they could have won the game in other ways.
"I never complain about tough decisions and tough plays at the end of the game that the refs have to make," head coach Scott Brooks said. "They had nothing to do with guys not being ready to play."
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