The John Wall-less Washington Wizards took on the Blake Griffin- and Patrick Beverley-less Clippers in Los Angeles today, in a game that managed to be pretty fun even with roughly a quarter of its normal star wattage. The Clippers dominated the first half, but Bradley Beal came alive in the second half, and the Wizards clawed back to bring the game even down the stretch.
This should’ve been a fun finish, and it almost was. Mike Scott (of all people) hit some big shots for the Wizards, but Austin Rivers (of all people) hit a huge three with 12 seconds left to put the Clippers back ahead. Beal answered with an and-one drive plus the freebie to put the Wizards up two with 8.9 on the clock. Lou Williams answered with a pull-up 29-footer with 1.2 on the clock to put the Clippers back on top. Washington called a timeout.
Then this shit happened:
The first look—the Beal bucket that was waived off—involved the game clock starting a couple tenths of a second too early. It may not seem like much, but 1.2 seconds is a reasonable amount of time to get a good look off in an NBA game, and a few tenths of a second is the difference between, for example, being able to catch and shoot versus only having enough time for a tip. Beal may not have had enough time for his dribble move, but the fast clock and early buzzer probably screwed up his timing, too. The right thing to do, there, would seem to be to put 1.2 back on the clock, put the ball back out in the same spot, and just run it back.
But that’s not what happened. Upon realizing their error, the refs made the decision to give the Wizards possession for a redo, only this time the Wizards were inexplicably pinned in the corner on the inbounds, and with a tenth of a second less on the play clock. So, to recap, because of a clock error completely outside the control of the Wizards, they were forced to operate with less time, and from a far, far worse position on the floor. It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that they were not able to generate the same quality look the second time around, and did not score. Bullcrap.
Get your shit together, NBA.