WASHINGTON — The Nets’ best defensive play Wednesday night didn’t come on the court, but from the bench — from a coach.
In the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 119-118 victory over the Wizards, assistant David Vanterpool caused a turnover by reaching out toward the court and deflecting a pass from former Net Spencer Dinwiddie.
With 5:42 left in the fourth quarter and the Nets leading 109-103, Dinwiddie was passing to Kyle Kuzma in the left corner in front of the visiting bench. Vanterpool reached out his arm, and appeared to hit the ball and deflect the pass.
The officials missed it and Kessler Edwards got the ball for a steal on a play that likely should’ve been a Washington side out and possibly a technical.
Kuzma could be seen pointing at Vanterpool, and eventually he took a foul so he could yell at the ref. It didn’t help.
Ben Taylor, crew chief of the game’s officials, was asked by a pool reporter if there would have been any way to review the deflection — which Taylor admitted was not seen by any of the officials.
“No,” Taylor said, “there wasn’t a mechanism in place for that.”
Acting Wizards coach Joseph Blair was vexed when asked if Vanterpool might have touched the ball and what his reaction was to the no-call.
“You asked me if he may have touched it. There’s no may have: He did,” Blair said. “My reaction was utter disbelief. I’ve never seen in my very long time in basketball something happen like that the referees didn’t see.”
Centers LaMarcus Aldridge and Day’Ron Sharpe combined for 41 points (16-for-21 shooting, 9-for-9 from the free-throw line), 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and no turnovers in 48 minutes. Aldridge had a season-high 27 points.
Joe Harris (ankle surgery), DeAndre’ Bembry (back spasms) and Paul Millsap (personal reasons) were all out. Bembry had been questionable before being scratched.
“[He] was hopeful to play and it just feels a little bit laboring because of it or held back by it. It could be a wise decision just to make sure you try to get through it with a couple more days,” said coach Steve Nash, who was noncommittal about Bembry playing Friday at San Antonio.
“It’s day-to-day. So hopefully we’ll be in the same position and wake up Friday the Spurs game say hopeful to play, and hopefully at that time he’ll say ‘Yeah, I’m ready.’… But if not, it will be again the next game. But it’s not like he needs a week off.”
Nash said Millsap might not join the Nets on their current trip. The veteran big man missed eight straight games before making a cameo on Jan. 13. He has been away for personal reasons in the three games since. … Harris has commenced very light shooting, but is still not close to high-intensity work.
The Nets improved to 16-5 on the road. … The Nets’ game Feb. 10 at Washington has been moved to 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by TNT.