Spencer Dinwiddie was adamant that Anthony Edwards fouled him in the final seconds of the Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
Trailing by three points with the shot clock turned off, Dinwiddie rose up to tie the game, but Edwards stuffed his shot out of bounds. Yet, the Nets guard immediately turned around and glared at the referees with his usual mix of aggravation and incredulousness, believing he was fouled, as he often does. Nothing looked out of the ordinary in real-time, including Dinwiddie’s reaction, but replays showed that he had more than a decent case for a foul:
the non-call on Dinwiddie; judge for yourself: pic.twitter.com/0EBB0557SU— Lucas Kaplan (@LucasKaplan_) April 5, 2023
“He hit me on the elbow. I mean, you saw it,” said Dinwiddie after the game.
So too, apparently, did the league office. Their Last Two Minute Report of the Brooklyn-Minnesota tilt confirmed that officials should have whistled Edwards for a foul on the play, a call that, had it been correctly made, would have sent Dinwiddie to the line with a chance to tie the score at 105.
The L2M Report’s explanation was as straightforward as they come: “Edwards (MIN) makes contact with Dinwiddie’s (BKN) arm during his upward shooting motion and the contact affects his jump shot attempt.”
This marks the third time within the last two months that the universally beloved L2M Report has confirmed an incorrect non-call disadvantaging Brooklyn in the final 15 seconds of a Nets loss. Worse yet, they’ve all been game-changers, non-calls Nets fans can point to as drastically swinging Brooklyn’s chances in each case. The day-late, sheepish shrugs from the NBA Officiating body can only feel so good.
The day after Brooklyn’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on February 11th, the new-look squad’s first game together, the league office confirmed that Spencer Dinwiddie, once again, was the victim of a crucial, incorrect non-call. With Brooklyn up one and 15 seconds to go, he drove to the basket and collided with James Harden as the ball dropped out of bounds. No foul call, just Philly ball, who would pull ahead for good on their resulting possession.
The NBA's Last Two Minute Report states that this drive from Spencer Dinwiddie should have been ruled as a blocking foul on James Harden. Nets would've had the opportunity to go up three at the free throw line. pic.twitter.com/d7SfU1RwbT— Alec Sturm (@Alec_Sturm) February 12, 2023
“Harden (PHI) does not beat Dinwiddie (BKN) to the spot and initiates contact that affects his ability to make the pass.” Ah, well.
Then, the Donovan Mitchell Massacre. On March 23rd, he missed a game-tying free-throw with just seconds left, but got his own rebound. Madness ensued as the remaining seconds ticked away, but the chaos ultimately ended with the Cleveland Cavaliers sinking a game-winning 3-pointer:
An insane sequence that leads to a game-winner from Isaac Okoro. Gut-wrenching for Brooklyn: pic.twitter.com/PeKy8CI6nF— Lucas Kaplan (@LucasKaplan_) March 24, 2023
On March 24th, the L2M Report revealed that that sequence should have ended as soon as it began, with Mitchell’s offensive rebound: “Mitchell (CLE) crosses the plane of the free throw line before it makes contact with the rim.” Alright, then.
Brooklyn’s unfortunate, recent history with the L2M Report might make the non-call on Dinwiddie’s game-tying 3-pointer the hardest to handle, especially factoring in that it should have been the easiest whistle to blow: Two officials on his side of the court, not much action happening elsewhere, the obvious contact.
Alas, sorry doesn't sweeten Brooklyn’s tea, as the post-mortem honesty from the officials doesn’t change any of the outcomes.
Just over five years ago, FiveThirtyEight published a piece from Chris Herring and Tim Paine on the teams most frequently disadvantaged by late-game officiating, according to the L2M Report. It featured the following anecdotes:
- “Through Wednesday, the Nets had been disadvantaged by an official’s incorrect call or incorrect non-call 28 times this season. In second place is Dallas, with 26.”
- “For starters, it seems to provide evidence to support comments made by Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie in January suggesting that this young Nets team gets less respect from officials than other clubs.
- ‘To see the same type of respect not reciprocated is very frustrating for us,’ Dinwiddie said after the Nets fell 87-85 to the Boston Celtics.”
- “On an individual level, Dinwiddie’s frustration may be justified. The 11 blown calls that left him disadvantaged led the league as of Wednesday...”
Dinwiddie was philosophical about the L2M report after the Pistons game.
“I’ve been on that side of the report more times than I like,” he said.
As ludicrous as the last five seasons have been, Nets fans can take solace in the fact that not everything has changed. Some things, in fact, seem that they never will.
- Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie has 16-assist night after getting vindication on missed call - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Too little, too late for Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie on non-call - Barbara Barker - Newsday