By Ben Golliver
It’s not often that you witness a player go from hero to goat and an announcer go from SportsCenter to the blooper reels in the same five-second span.
The closing seconds of the Pistons’ 96-95 win over the Wizards in Washington won’t soon be forgotten, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
Trailing by one with 12 seconds remaining, Washington guard Bradley Beal attacked from the top of the key, opting to kick the ball out to the left wing rather than attempt a shot in traffic. The ball bounced around the perimeter with just seconds left, eventually finding its way to Trevor Ariza, who launched a three-pointer from the left corner over Kyle Singler with just a few ticks to play.
Ariza’s shot hit nothing but net; unfortunately, though, it was the outside of the net, as the airballed attempt came up well short. Even more unfortunately, Wizards play-by-play broadcaster Steve Buckhantz thought the shot went through, screaming “Dagger!” to punctuate the game-winner that never actually happened.
“Ariza from the baseline for three and the Wizards with a miraculous comeback in Washington,” Buckhantz said, as the Pistons celebrated and the Wizards trudged back to their bench.
The juxtaposition of Buckhantz’s excitement with the Wizards’ slumped shoulders and the Pistons’ relief is priceless. Eventually, replays clued in the broadcast team as to what had taken place, and the full awkwardness of the moment sank in.
“The dagger has been retracted,” Buckhantz eventually conceded.
Ariza, a career 31.7 percent three-point shooter, actually hit 4-of-7 from deep to score a team-high 22 points. Brandon Knight led the Pistons with a game-high 32 points.
Washington dropped to 18-38 and had its three-game winning streak snapped. Detroit improved to 23-37 and broke a three-game skid.
UPDATE: Ariza’s shot fooled Pistons play-by-play announcer George Blaha, too: