Two shot-clock debacles would be inexcusable, so it's a good thing the Toronto Raptors are getting theirs in order.
Midway through the third quarter of their first playoff game since 2008, the team's shot clocks stopped working. Attempts to install backups were unsuccessful, so unforeseen obstacles were incurred by all.
According to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star (h/t Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk), a similar shot-clock meltdown won't await the Raptors and their first-round opponent, the Brooklyn Nets, in Game 2:
On a day that turned public address announcer Herbie Kuhn into something of a human stopwatch, the 15-year-old building wasn’t up to snuff.
As a result of what team officials called a “signal path failure,” the 24-second clocks and game clocks above both baskets broke down midway through the third quarter of Toronto’s 94-87 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. …
“New cables will be run (later Saturday and Sunday) to ensure no issues arise on Tuesday, and the NBA will inspect both the fixed and backup systems for Game 2,” according to a short statement from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Kuhn declined comment.
Phew. Game 2 could have been more awkward than Game 1. And Game 1 was awkward.
Stopwatches and air horns were used in the absence of functioning shot clocks. No, seriously, they were:
The setting was—well, it was weird. Pollakoff penned a nice recap of the gawky procedures the Raptors were forced to employ:
The public address announcer, flanked by a man with a stopwatch and an air horn (seriously), was forced to count down the remaining seconds on each possession, and then say “HORN!” when time had run out. Kyle Lowry hit a three to beat the third quarter buzzer, but with the clock off and the red light surrounding the basket not working, officials had to go to the video replay and listen to see if the shot beat the sound of the horn (and it did).
There is no good time for nearly every method of time management to fail in the NBA, but Saturday's disaster was particularly inconvenient.
This was no regular-season contest—it was a playoff game. The first playoff game Toronto hosted in roughly six years. Failed shot clocks don't represent the perfect "Welcome back to the playoffs, Raptors nation!" greeting.
Losing didn't help the situation. Despite holding Brooklyn to 4-of-24 shooting from beyond the arc, the Raptors shot just 39.4 percent from the floor overall.
After their defense crumbled down the stretch and Paul Pierce did what Paul Pierce always does—hit big shots—the Raptors find themselves in a 1-0 hole and a situation that basically demands they win Game 2. If they don't, they'll find themselves down 2-0, traveling to Barclays Center, where the Nets have been unstoppable over the last few months. That can't happen. There will be no coming back from a 2-0 series deficit. Believe that.
Worse still, the loss came after the Toronto Sun decided to become merchants of snark, criticizing the age of Brooklyn's players:
At least one New York-based newspaper was obligated to respond. The New York Daily News proved up to the task:
Asked afterward what it was like playing without a shot clock, Pierce was predictably snide in his response.
"I don't remember," he said, per Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail. "Because I'm a dinosaur."
Funny he should say that, because if the Raptors don't get more than just their shot clocks in order, they're the ones who will be history.