Missed call on Nets’ coach deflection looms large for Wizards in loss

WASHINGTON — Joe Blair is already in an unfamiliar position as Wizards acting head coach, as the replacement to the replacement with both Wes Unseld Jr. and Pat Delany in health and safety protocols. Blair has plenty of coaching experience at other levels, but nothing in his past can compare to what he saw on Wednesday night in the team’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

With 5:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, Nets assistant coach David Vanterpool reached out from the bench and deflected a pass from Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie to Kyle Kuzma. It resulted in a Wizards turnover and a chaotic few moments as the Wizards aimed to close the gap late against Brooklyn.

The referees missed the interference by Vanterpool, as confirmed by crew Ben Taylor postgame in a pool report. While it did not directly lead to points for the Nets, after a game in which they lost by one, several members of the Wizards expressed shock at the missed call.

“My reaction was utter disbelief. I’ve never seen, in my very long time in basketball, something happen like that that the referees didn’t see,” Blair said.

According to the NBA rulebook, Rule 8, Section II states “If the ball is interfered with by an opponent seated on the bench or standing on the sideline (Rule 12A—Section II—a(7)), it shall be awarded to the offended team out-of-bounds nearest the spot of the violation.”

So, at a minimum, it…

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