PORTLAND, Ore. — The Washington Wizards pointed to a few reasons why they fumbled away a game crucial for their dwindling playoff hopes to the Portland Trail Blazers, 116-108 in overtime, Tuesday night at Moda Center. There were the 12 missed free throws and the pivotal rebounds they couldn’t grab. The referees were also a topic of conversation.
The Wizards were bitter about a few calls over the course of the game, but their biggest gripe was a pivotal non-call late in the fourth quarter. The Trail Blazers called a timeout after John Wall hit a three-pointer with 15.8 seconds remaining that pushed the Wizards ahead 104-102. Gerald Henderson was then assigned to inbound the ball, but couldn’t get it to Damian Lillard, who was being denied. Henderson signaled for a timeout and was awarded it. The Wizards believe he should have been whistled for a five-second violation.
“Six point seven seconds,” Wittman said. “Our guys timed it three times and that was the low of the three times timed. 6.7. What are you going to do when they don’t want to call a five-second call? Can’t do anything about it. But it was 6.7.”
The Trail Blazers were granted the timeout and emerged with a play designed to get the ball to C.J. McCollum, who created his own shot and nailed a short jumper to tie the game at 104 with 5.4 seconds remaining. Washington then called a timeout and had two opportunities to win the game, but Henderson blocked Marcin Gortat’s layup and Wall’s three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
The NBA is expected to rule whether officials made the correct call on Wednesday in a report as they do with all calls in the last two minutes of games.
In addition to the non-call, members of the Wizards questioned other rulings.There was Alan Anderson’s ejection and Gerald Henderson’s non-ejection following their scuffle late in the first quarter. There was a series of calls they believed stymied their momentum and fueled Portland’s swift comeback from a 13-point deficit, and, ultimately resulted in Wall receiving a technical foul third quarter.
“I thought we let it get to us in that third quarter,” Wizards forward Jared Dudley said. “We were up 10 or 11 and there are going to make questionable calls throughout the game for both teams so I’m not going to single them out when it comes to that. But for us it’s holding our composure. You’re on the road. You’re expected to get the short end of the whistle. If we were at home, I’d expect them to.”
The Wizards are off Wednesday before traveling to Salt Lake City to practice Thursday in preparation for their matchup against the Utah Jazz on Friday.