Powerful Robert Williams III dunk blamed for 35-minute delay in NBA game
Although the Denver Nuggets beat the Boston Celtics in a clash between the leaders of the NBA’s Eastern and Western conferences on Sunday, all post-game talk was about a bent rim.
The game was overshadowed by a bizarre 35 minutes, according to ESPN, when officials worked frantically to level one of the rims, which appeared to have been dented by the Celtics’ Robert Williams III.
The 25-year-old previously clung to the rim after slamming home a mighty dunk with 8:06 left in the fourth quarter.
During a timeout with 6:43 remaining on the clock, workers inside the Ball Arena were called in to resolve the issue.
At first, one technician was deemed sufficient but, after he failed to level it sufficiently, several people, ladders and spirit levels were deployed in a wacky scene.
“I didn’t know I did this until my teammates started blaming me, to be honest,” Williams told reporters after the game.
With nearly 20,000 fans inside the increasingly agitated arena and puzzled players running onto the field to keep warm, Denver’s mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion, did his best to keep the moral.
At one point, the mascot got a small ladder and pretended to stare at the ledge on the other side of the field.
Eventually, after 35 minutes of work, the rim was deemed level and play resumed after a short warm-up for both teams.
After the break, the Nuggets pitched for a 123-111 victory, inspired by MVP candidate Nikola Jokic who finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
However, despite the long delay, Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown said the rim still appeared to be slightly bent to the left.
“They spent all that time trying to fix it, but when we came back it still looked like it wasn’t even level, in my opinion. So we wasted all that time,” he told reporters.
“It has an effect on the game. That’s how injuries and stuff happen. Fortunately, this was not the case [happen], but it was not good. This whole process was mishandled, in my opinion, and that had an effect as well. But luckily no one was hurt.
Brown, who finished with 30 points for the Celtics, also said the delay gave his team a boost.
“We were trying to get him started, but you have to give Denver credit. They came out, they played well, their second unit played well,” he told reporters.
“They just played well throughout the game. So you have to give Denver credit, but it was definitely one of the weirdest games I’ve been in in my entire career.
Meanwhile, Nuggets coach Michael Malone could see the fun side of things, perhaps helped by his side’s win on the night.
“There’s a joke in there: how many guys does it take to fix a rim in an NBA game?” he told reporters.