Despite playing like total ass for almost the entirety of the evening, the Kings recovered from an 11-point deficit with 6:21 left in the fourth quarter to only be down one point against the Pistons on Saturday. With 3.4 seconds left in the game, Sacramento guard Bogdan Bogdanovic inbounded the ball to Buddy Hield, who caught it in a terrible location on the court and was immediately surrounded by three Detroit players. Hield fumbled the ball out of surprise while trying to create space for himself, but he recovered and the accidental move opened up enough space for him to slip past Zaza Pachulia and Reggie Jackson. Having already picked up his dribble, the Kings player had no choice but to take his second step and heave up a prayer off his left leg. As everyone obviously expected, the shot hit nothing but net.
Hield finished the game with 35 points (13-of-22 from the field, 7-of-9 from three), nine rebounds and three assists. He had plenty of reason to be excited about his performance, but when a player runs straight to the locker room like that after a buzzer-beater, it’s usually because he wants the team to get out of the arena before the officials waive it off with replay. While the shot itself was confirmed, the Pistons still felt like Hield got away with something on that last possession.
Per the Detroit Free Press:
But the Pistons were fuming afterward because you can argue that Hield committed a double-dribble violation before making the winning shot.
“Fumbling the ball, taking control of the dribble to gather the ball, picking it up with two hands, and taking another dribble, definitely works to your advantage,” a subdued Griffin said in the locker room afterward.
“That was par for the course for the night. I can’t say anything about the officiating, but …”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a game like that.”
“Once he picked up the ball, he couldn’t dribble anymore,” Pachulia said. “That’s messed up. Unfortunately he did. He got by me easy because it was sort of surprising.
“One-foot floater from (three-point range)? C’mon.”
They have a right to be annoyed. On second glance of the play, you can see Hield taking a second dribble after picking up the ball. What likely happened is that the official, whose gaze was probably more focused on Hield’s positioning behind the three-point line, had his view of the ball obstructed by Reggie Jackson. It sucks that that had to happen on the final play of a game and that this happened to a team on the outside-looking-in of the playoff race.
At the same time, it doesn’t negate how fucking awesome that shot was. Here’s Deadspin’s Sacramento Kings correspondent, Patrick Redford, with his take after the game.