I wanted to look again at the last minute in the Wizards' loss to the Hornets last night.
Some call sure went for Washington. Like that obvious half-court violation of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope that was overlooked with a few minutes left.
But, there was another equally strange but perhaps more crucial miscall later in the game.
With 51.4 ticks left in regular and down just by 2 after a beautiful three-pointer by KCP off a well-calculated assist by Kuzma, the pressure was on Charlotte. There was enough time to allow Washington two more possessions (though that was complicated by the Wizards still having fouls to give).
Charlotte inbounded, and Lamelo Ball drained the first 14 seconds of the clock with no on-ball pressure at sight (I suspect that is something that will be discussed in video sessions tomorrow). Then Miles Bridges came for a pick-and-roll play at the top of the key.
Harrell bit the bait and came for the switch, while KCP lost Ball completely (another point that will surely be discussed...). I mean, the pick was softer than Charmin and KCP still didn’t work through it. He also didn’t exactly switch the pick either. He did something in between.
Be it as it may, that left Bridges wide open for an alley-hoop. Game-over, right?
Here is where it got interesting. Bridges managed to perform one of those rare alley-hoop misses that bounces far off the rim right on the 35 second mark. The ball fell miraculuosly right into Harrell’s arms around the 34.1 mark, who probably was a bit surprised at the miss and didn’t secure full possession of the ball, as Ball poked right out of his hands right at the 33.7 second mark.
Nevertheless, despite the Wizards never having possession of the rebound, the clock was reset to 24 seconds instead of 14. The Hornets then had ample time to set up the offense for Rozier to drain a three right in KCP’s face and seal the game:
So overall, this clock gaffe might not have been that influential, and it probably canceled out with errors the refs had on the other side.
What’s interesting is though how Deni, who’s the Wizards best iso player wasn’t on the floor in this last minute, especially in a game where Rozier was feasting on the Wizards’ defense. That might be due in part to Hornet’s coach James Borrego wisely not using a timeout after KCP’s three, which didn’t allow the Wizards to do an offense/defense sub.
Who would have imagined a year ago that the Wizards and Hornets would be fighting for the No. 3—5 spots in the East.