Fans were not happy about missing the last-second play.
Few sporting events are as dramatic as a close NBA game, but the Spurs-Lakers game on April 4, had even higher stakes as San Antonio sits amid a pack of teams all jockeying for position heading into the playoffs. So with the contest tied up, 108-108 with four seconds left, all eyes were on the nationally televised game.
As the Spurs’ Josh Hart drove into the lane to give his team the lead, fans bore witness to a very poorly-timed commercial break by ESPN.
The commercial actor did nothing wrong but was quickly made the target of anger from fans wondering just how that play ended. Fortunately, the feed returned after about two seconds, revealing that Hart had missed the shot, sending the game to overtime.
Of course, the cameras still caught the action, even if the fans didn’t. The NBA posted the complete play on Twitter in short order, “crediting” ESPN as the broadcaster.
Heading to OT at Staples! #LakeShow 108 | #GoSpursGo 108 ?: @ESPNNBA https://t.co/ePtvZVax2Z— NBA (@NBA) 1522904198
Fans and media outlets on Twitter were quick to jump on ESPN’s case about the poorly-timed gaffe. One complained about the game cutting to a “random dude,” which is a hilariously bizarre characterization of an actor in a commercial.
@NBA @ESPNNBA Thanks for posting my tv cut to some random dude— ralph (@ralph) 1522904255
OH COME ON https://t.co/2AkQ9Nw7dU— Deadspin (@Deadspin) 1522904188
ESPN has maintained a silence on the matter, perhaps hoping coverage of their mistake will just blow over, as it probably will.
While the interrupted play didn’t signify the end of the action, it did serve as a crucial component, as the Lakers took control in overtime following the missed shot. Los Angeles won 122-112, causing the Spurs to slide one spot in the playoff rankings with just a few games remaining.