April 20, 2014, TORONTO (ISN) – American sports broadcaster ESPN caused the much maligned shot clock malfunction in the Toronto Raptors’ opening game of the playoffs.
The day after the Raptors were mocked for the debacle, a Raptors official confirmed that an ESPN technician plugged into the same power source for the shot clocks, frying the power system.
The Raptors had to go old-school, relying on announcer Herbie Kuhn to count down the 24 seconds on each possession after the clocks above the baskets died with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter of Toronto’s 94-87 playoff loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
“Let’s just put it this way, they’re not the worldwide leader in electricians,” the Raptors official joked, when reporters probed him for the culprit.
It was a play on ESPN’s slogan: “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”
The official later confirmed it was ESPN.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment took blame for using the same power source for the primary and backup shot clocks. The damaged cables in the baskets were replaced and tested Sunday, and the primary and backup clocks are no longer using the same power source.
The Raptors were mocked for the incident on social media and by traditional media, including ESPN. The broadcaster showed a split screen of the game, and announcer Herbie Kuhn counting down the seconds while looking at a stopwatch held by the official next to him.
Players on both teams said the clock malfunction was a distraction.
Kyle Lowry blamed it for rushing a shot late in the game.
“Aw man, I heard Herbie counting down ‘5. . .4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1,'” the Raptors point guard said. “It really is different when you can’t see it, and you’ve got somebody saying ‘5. . .’ and he’s counting down.”
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday in Toronto. The series heads to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday.