The Brooklyn Nets sealed a much-needed road win against Washington on Wednesday night, but not without a little help from its bench. Or, should we say a lot of help?
David Vanterpool was named as an assistant coach for Brooklyn in July 2021. From 2019 to 2021, he was the associate head coach for Minnesota, and before that he spent seven years in Portland as an assistant coach.
He played an instrumental role in the Nets’ 119-118 victory over the Wizards, and not because of his insight.
Brooklyn was up, 109-103, with 5:42 left play in the game, and Spencer Dinwiddie attempted a pass to Kyle Kuzma in the corner, who was standing in front of the Nets’ bench. Vanterpool appeared to reach his arm out and tip the pass, which caused Kuzma to bobble the ball and resulted in a turnover for Washington.
Brooklyn Nets assistant coach deflects pass in win over Washington.
While Kuzma was questioning what had occurred, Kessler Edwards secured the steal and passed the ball ahead to Patty Mills.
After Kuzma realized that the referee wasn’t going to blow his whistle over Vanterpool’s involvement, he rushed to the other end of the court and fouled Mills so that he could get the referee’s attention to argue the missed call.
The referee that was standing closest to the play when it happened told Joseph Blair, the Wizards’ standing head coach in Wes Unseld Jr.’s absence, that if Vanterpool did interfere with the pass he didn’t see it.
Washington had already used its lone coaches challenge, so the team had no choice but to continue to play.
After the game, Blair said that he was in “utter disbelief” over the play and missed call.
Ben Taylor, crew chief of the game’s officials, said that the officials didn’t see the tipped pass when it happened. Taylor was asked if there would’ve been a way to review the deflected pass, to which he replied, “No, there wasn’t a mechanism in place for that.”
Blair mentioned that there’s been a point of emphasis in the NBA regarding bench conduct, which made the missed call “very hard to swallow.”
Washington’s big man Montrezl Harrell weighed in on the situation on Twitter after the game and tweeted, “D*** he wanna 10 day or what.”
Brooklyn should’ve been whistled for a technical foul and the Wizards should’ve gotten the ball back.
All in all, the Nets got away with a steal, literally and figuratively.