[Brandon Roy reacts as referee Courtney Kirkland points toward him, indicating a foul will be called on Roy, canceling Portland's possession of the ball and an Andray Blatche technical foul.]
With just over two minutes left in Friday night’s game, and the Wizards holding onto a 73-69 lead over the Portland Trailblazers, Brandon Roy took a three pointer.
He missed. Nicolas Batum got an offensive rebound and passed to Wesley Matthews in the corner. He missed a three. Joel Pryzybilla then missed a controlled tip from point-blank range. LaMarcus Aldridge tipped the rebound, and missed, and tipped the ball again, and again, and again, just swatting with the hope that something would go in his team’s favor for a change.
The final rebound then brushed past Roy’s hands. Andray Blatche swooped in to try to gather the ball as he teetered on the baseline, but in one move, Roy punched the ball away. As it left Blatche’s grasp, Roy grabbed him around the waist with one arm to prevent recovery. The ball went out of bounds, and having last touched Blatche’s hands, referee Scott Wall blew the whistle, signaling possession in Portland’s favor. Wall’s view of Blatche getting grabbed was blocked.
Andray made a face to the ref, and during the motion of turning the other way, threw a punch into the air, which fits into the category that has earned many NBA players technical fouls this season, as David Stern is trying to crack down on such transgressions. So Wall immediately whistled Blatche for a technical foul. Uh oh. That would mean Portland could sink a free-throw, cut the Wizards lead to three, and have the ball in their hands.
Immediately, referee Courtney Kirkland ran over to consult with his colleague and subsequently overrule him. Kirkland saw the foul committed by Roy and blew his whistle as well. Since it was Blatche who was fouled, he would be selected to shoot free-throws on the other end, and his technical foul would disappear, negated from being a factor on 7-Day Dray’s pocket book.
It was a big turning point of the game. Instead of Portland getting a chance to get within one point or even tie the Wizards, they found themselves down six with 124 seconds left after Blatche calmly sank his free-throws. The Wizards would go on to win the game by four points, the same margin going into the technical foul that never was.
After the game, I asked Blatche is he was aware of the heat-of-the-moment incident:
In the end, you must give the refs credit for consulting each other and getting the call right while not penalizing someone else for their mistake. It also seems to send the message: if you complain in a technical-worthy manner, and you’re right, then the refs won’t come down hard on you … at least in this instance of the disappearing technical foul.