WASHINGTON – The Nets’ best defensive play on Wednesday night did not come on the field, but from the bench – from a coach.
In the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 119-118 victory over the Wizards, assistant David Vanterpool caused a turnover by reaching out to the pitch and rejecting a pass from former Net Spencer Dinwiddie.
With 5:42 left in the fourth quarter and the Nets leading 109-103, Dinwiddie sent for Kyle Kuzma in the left corner in front of the guest bench. Vanterpool stretched out his arm and seemed to hit the ball and mitigate the pass.
Officials missed it, and Kessler Edwards got the ball for a theft on a game that probably should have been a Washington side and possibly a technical one.
Kuzma can be seen pointing at Vanterpool, and finally he committed a free kick so he could shout at the referee. It did not help.
Ben Taylor, chief of staff for the game’s officials, was asked by a pool reporter if there would have been any way to review the deflection – which Taylor admitted was not seen by any of the officials.
“No,” Taylor said, “there was not a mechanism in place for that.”
Acting Wizards coach Joseph Blair was annoyed when asked if Vanterpool could have touched the ball and what his reaction was to the no-call.
“You asked me if he might have touched it. There is no one who can have: he did,” Blair said. “My reaction was complete disbelief. I have never in my very long time in basketball seen anything happen that the referees did not see.”
Centers LaMarcus Aldridge and Day’Ron Sharpe combined for 41 points (16-for-21 shots, 9-to-9 from the free-throw line), 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and no 48-minute turnovers. Aldridge had a season-high 27 points.
Joe Harris (ankle surgery), DeAndre ‘Bembry (back spasms) and Paul Millsap (personal reasons) were all out. Bembry had been questionable before being scratched.
“[He] was hopeful to play and it just feels a little tiring because of it or held back by it. It could be a wise decision just to make sure you try to get through it with a few more days, ”said coach Steve Nash, who was non-committal to Bembry playing on Friday in San Antonio.
“It’s from day to day. So hopefully we’ll be in the same position and wake up on Friday where the Spurs match says hope to play, and hopefully at that point he will say ‘Yes, I’m ready’ … But if not, it’s going to be the next game again. But it’s not like he needs a week off. “
Nash said Millsap may not join the Nets on their current journey. The great veteran missed eight games in a row before making a cameo on January 13th. He has been away for personal reasons in the three matches since. … Harris has started shooting very lightly, but is still not close to high-intensity work.
Nets improved to 16-5 on the road. … The Nets’ match on February 10 in Washington has been moved to at. 19:30 and will be broadcast by TNT.
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