The duel between Washington Wizards and the Brookyln Nets, which ended with the victory of the visiting team by one point (118-119) was the scene of a move never seen before in the most important basketball tournament in the world.
Interestingly, the protagonist was not any of the players who were in the Capital One Arena, but David Vanterpool, one of the attendees of the new york franchise, who was heavily criticized for his action.
It is that towards the end of the match, and while his team was winning 109-103, the former CSKA Moscow player cut off an attack by the home team from outside the pitch when they tried to reverse the result.
The controversy in question occurred with 5:42 minutes remaining in the match. At that moment Spencer Dinwiddie received the ball by the left sector and quickly he dropped a pass to Kyle Kuzma, however, before it reached his hands, Vanterpool stretched out his arm and managed to deflect the trajectory, causing the loss of possession for the Wizards.
Surprisingly action continued despite protests from local players and the whistle only blew when Kuzma fouled off the Nets’ fast break. The protests continued but the referee decided to ignore them and continue with the game, which ended in a victory for the visitors by one point (119-118).
In the press conference that followed, Kuzma himself exploded at not understanding why no foul was called: “It’s bullshit! Coaches shouldn’t be able to get up. Everyone was on their feet, including Steve Nash, who was blocking the referee’s view.”
The play, which should have been called in favor of the Wizards with a possible technical foul, It went unnoticed in the eyes of the judges.
Ben Taylor, head of the game’s refereeing team, admitted that none of the officers saw what had happened and they had no way of reviewing it at the time.
On the other hand, the interim coach of the Wizards, Joseph Blair commented: “They asked me if he could have touched it. He couldn’t have done it; did. My reaction was one of utter disbelief. I have never seen something like this in all the time I was in basketball, that the referees have not seen it…”
Despite the controversial action in question, the Wizards had a chance to turn the score around in other opportunities that were finally wasted. The Nets, on the other hand, converted two triples in the last seconds that were key in the victory.