Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
There have been quite a few of these close finishes over the past few weeks for the Wizards, but tonight it was that final shot that fell just short for Kyle Kuzma in front of the Nets bench that gave them all they would need to escape D.C with a 119-118 victory, but not before some in game controversy.
In the final seconds when the Wizards were trying to make a pass on the wing an arrent tip by one of the Nets assistant coaches may have tipped the Wizards look for open shot on in front of the bench, instead they had to make a couple passes and rebound off the miss before Kuz would get the ball for the final shot as the clock expired.
The Nets were winning 109-103 when the interference took place. While the Nets did not score off of the steal, a missed opportunity to score for the Wizards could’ve been the difference between a victory and defeat. While David Vanterpool got away with the deflection at the time, the league issued fines to him and the Nets’ organization on Thursday as Vanterpool was docked $10,000 and the organization was hit with an additional fine of $25,000.
Kuzma was more than pissed after the game, calling it “horseshit” and saying there shouldn’t even be coaches standing with over three minutes remaining in the game.
“It’s very hard to swallow them missing something like that, for me,” Wizards Assistant Joseph Blair said of the referees missing the call. This was the second game for Blair at the helm with Wes Unseld Jr. still unavailable.
“I think we just made enough plays defensively to get the job done,” said Steve Nash on the closing stretch of the 119-118 win. “Offensively, we were a little stagnant. [We] wanted to get to more actions, and we had a hard time getting into actions. I think we isolated a little too much. Got a little too predictable and then it’s make or miss. The offense wasn’t great down the stretch. I thought the defense, not that it was great, made enough plays to win the game.”
The Nets delivered a strong dose of Kyrie Irving who tallied a season-high 30 points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field and 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Irving dished seven assists and grabbed three boards as well in his 38 minutes of play.
James Harden had a near triple-double of 18 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in 39 minutes of action. The superstar didn’t shoot well in the road win, going 7-of-21 from the field and 0-of-5 from three.
The Wizards will look to regroup on Friday night against the Raptors as they continue this extended home stand.