In an embarrassing end to a 113-92 blowout loss to the Spurs on Tuesday, members of the Nets simply walked off the court and headed to the locker room even though there was 0.2 seconds remaining in the game. Their absence delayed the game long enough that coach Jason Kidd was forced to call a timeout so that five Brooklyn players could be rounded up, allowing for a legal inbounding of the basketball to officially end the game.
The bizarre scene unfolded with San Antonio beginning its final possession with 24.2 seconds remaining in the game. Given that the result was well in hand -- San Antonio held a 30-point lead entering the fourth quarter -- the Spurs did the right thing etiquette-wise by by allowing the 24-second clock to run out and taking a turnover rather than launching an unsportsmanlike final shot. Players from both teams shook hands on the court during the game's closing seconds and the final buzzer sounded, but the referees immediately signaled for Brooklyn to inbound the ball in front of their bench.
The only problem: virtually the entire Nets roster, including players that were in the game and those that were on the bench during the closing minutes, was already well off the court and not looking back. Without five players, Brooklyn couldn't inbound the ball and the game was stuck. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich could only smirk as the scene unfolded, and Kidd was captured on camera with a confused, glazed look on his face as he chatted with one of the officials.
As the delay continued, both the AT&T Center crowd and the Fox Sports Southwest television broadcasting crew grew restless, and Kidd was eventually forced to take a timeout. Finally, Andrei Kirilenko emerged from the locker room to help end the nightmare, and Mason Plumlee took on inbounding duties, allowing the game to (finally) end once the ball was touched.
The loss dropped Brooklyn to 10-21 on the season and it was Nets' sixth defeat in their last seven games. Writers covering the team saw some symbolism in Brooklyn's early exit, and the post-game quotes that followed were predictably discouraging.
From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News...
The year ended fittingly for the Nets: They were confused and dysfunctional, symbolically quitting on another blowout defeat. With 0.2 seconds left after a shot-clock violation, most of the Nets left the court for the locker room believing the game was over. Coach Jason Kidd had to use a timeout just to get five players on the court and finish Tuesday night’s 113-92 blowout to the Spurs, while the crowd in San Antonio booed Brooklyn’s predicament.
Happy New Year!
“It’s embarrassing. I don’t know if I’ve ever been part of this many blowouts in one season already,” Paul Pierce said.
From Tim Bontemps of the New York Post...
To add insult to injury, the Nets left the court with 0.2 seconds remaining after the clock operator initially thought the game was over and sounded the final horn, forcing Kidd to eventually call a timeout to get enough players out onto the court to throw the ball in and mercifully end the game.
“They thought the game was over,” Kidd said. “There was no confusion. They thought the game was over, but unfortunately there was 0.2 seconds left.”
From Daniel Savitzy of TheBrooklynGame...
The Nets tonight could not even bother to drag their sorry a---- out of the tunnel to finish the final 0.2 seconds of the game. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce seem disinterested, Deron Williams doesn't seem to care, and what's left is a smorgasbord of players who'd like to play but just can't carry a team without the primary players. This is a bleak team with a bleak outlook.San Antonio improved to 25-7 with the win.