With 26 seconds left and trailing by two points, the Toronto Raptors opted not to foul anyone on the Charlotte Bobcats. With only a two-second differential between the shot and game clocks, Toronto apparently believed that it would be able to get the ball back with enough time to fire off a legitimate last-second heave.
Instead, Gerald Henderson tossed up a missed three-pointer with a couple of seconds left and time expired before the Raptors could get the ball. Toronto never had a chance and lost, 92-90.
It was a curious decision to say the least, and there are actually a couple of explanations.
Perhaps head coach Dwane Casey had a dynamite 1.9-second play drawn up that he was dying to use. Maybe that play was so good that he was willing to risk a loss just to get a chance to use it.
Or maybe the Raptors, who had already logged two wins on the year, wanted to try to preserve their chances of drafting Canadian Andrew Wiggins. Those pesky victories were hurting their chances to win the lottery, so Casey might have gotten a mandate from the front office to blow the game.
It's hard to say which is more plausible.
For what it's worth, Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford didn't have an issue with Casey's decision. Per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
Clifford said he would have done the same thing Toronto coach Dwane Casey did art the end of the game, choosing not to foul late to get back the ball. Clifford said there was nearly a two-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock, with the Raptors having the option to advance the ball to midcourt after a timeout.
Nice try, Clifford—we all know you're just trying to convince opponents to try the same flawed strategy in the future.