One of the Nets’ best defensive plays of Wednesday night’s win over the Wizards came from assistant coach David Vanterpool.
With Brooklyn leading by six with just under six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, former Net Spencer Dinwiddie tried to send a pass to Kyle Kuzma in the corner, but Vanterpool shockingly reached out his arm and deflected the ball past Kuzma. The Nets grabbed the loose ball and pushed ahead in transition before a furious Kuzma intentionally committed a foul to stop the clock and unleash a tirade on the officials, who never saw the interference.
“That was also horses--t too,” Kuzma said after Washington lost by one. “Coaches should not be able to stand up… I get it if it’s under two minutes, but there’s like 3:50 on the clock. You’ve got Steve Nash blocking the ref's view. He can't see s--t. I don’t know what else to say. It’s unfortunate, but you gotta live with it.”
One official was standing right next to Vanterpool, who immediately backed away into the Brooklyn bench after deflecting the pass, but no call was made. Instead, the Nets kept their possession and went on to win the game. Of course, Washington allowing 74 first-half points likely had much more to do with Wednesday’s loss than the illegal pass breakup from the bench, but the Wizards were not happy with the officials missing the play entirely.
“You asked me if he may have touched it. There was no ‘may have,’” acting Wizards head coach Joseph Blair said. “He did. My reaction was utter disbelief. I’ve never seen, in my very long time in basketball, something happen like that that the refs didn’t see.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1