The Washington Wizards badly needed Friday night’s game against Minnesota to help their playoff cause, but the 132-129 loss in double overtime was another step in the wrong direction. The Wizards certainly had their share of chances in the game, including a couple of looks to win at the end of the regulation, but a report on the officiating released Saturday shows the men in stripes might have hurt Washington’s chances.
The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report, which analyzed the officiating in the final two minutes of regulation plus all 10 minutes of the two overtimes, states that their were 14 incorrect calls in the final 12 minutes of the game. All 14 of the officiating mistakes were categorized as “incorrect non-calls,” or instances in which the referees should have blown the whistles but did not. Nine of those 14 calls went against the Wizards, including two in the final minute of regulation against John Wall.
With the Wizards up two with 43 seconds left, Wall drove to the basket and was stripped by Zach LaVine, leading to a shot clock violation. The Timberwolves went on to tie the game, but the officiating report said LaVine made contact with Wall and a foul should have been called.
Less than a minute later, the referees missed another foul call against Wall, one that would’ve sent the 79 percent career free throw shooter to the line for two shots with a chance to take the lead with less than five seconds remaining in regulation.
Wall drove to the basket and missed a layup, but, according to the report, Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng “makes contact with Wall’s (WAS) body that affects his drive to the basket and shot attempt.”
The Wizards are not the only victims in this situation. There were missed calls that went against the T-Wolves and hurt their chances to win, as well. Furthermore, there were opportunities unaffected by officiating decisions that left the Wizards in good shape the game; after the no-call on Wall’s drive with under five seconds, Bradley Beal had an open look at a three-pointer but couldn’t hit it.