Did Monty McCutchen Purposely Start the Clock Early, During the Final Play of Spurs vs. Clippers?


Ok, this is kinda weird…

In case you missed it: after Chris Paul scored an unfathomable runner, the Los Angeles Clippers were up by 2 points on the San Antonio Spurs last night with one second left. The Spurs had the ball, called a timeout to draw up a last second play, and advanced the ball to the front court. Then, like every other time any NBA team has ever in-bounded — the Spurs began the motion of said play as the in-bounder, Boris Diaw, was handed the ball.

We all know what happened next: the clock “inadvertently” started, and the Spurs ended up showing the Clippers/the entire world what they were going to run … a back-cut for Kawhi Leonard in the paint, which was intended to lead to an alley-oop finish at the rim.

Gregg Popovich and Spurs’ Owner Peter Holt were MAD (and rightfully so).

After the clock was reset, the Spurs ran the same exact play … Matt Barnes read it … and ultimately swatted the ball half way down the court with ease. The game ended.

Here’s the sequence…

Do clock malfunctions happen a lot in the NBA? Sure.

Unfortunate, fishy timing for it to occur? Yeah.

Was there foul play involved with the “malfunction”? Wait a minute, there might be…

Watch the video again, and narrow your sights to Referee Monty McCutchen.

You’ll notice that he reaches for the back of his belt, and adjusts/clicks/does something the moment play begins…

One second later, the buzzer goes off.


What a lot of people don’t know is that NBA referees carry a PTS with them at all times. ‘PTS’ is short for Precision Timing System — and it is a device used by NBA officials to start and stop the game clock at their convenience, rather than having the scoreboard operator doing so.

Unless we get a confirmation from the NBA, or, are able to hack into Monty McCutchen’s PTS API call history … there is no way to know for sure if Monty did indeed trigger the clock to start before it was supposed to…

The only evidence we can work off of is if it’s mentioned in the post-game referee report, which is published the day after.

Well, guess what? The Report just got released, and there is no explanation nor mention of it anywhere…

What the hell is going on here? If Monty is responsible for starting the clock early, what is his motivation for doing so? Why would he want the Clippers to see the play the Spurs were running? Why is the NBA not giving us an explanation, let alone acknowledging it happened at all? IS THIS THE REVENGE OF DAVID STERN? IS ADAM SILVER ACTUALLY EVIL? WHY DID HBO CANCEL How to Make it in America??!?!

I have so many questions, and refuse to rest until I am given an answer.


P.S. The spread for this game closed with the Spurs as a 2.5 point underdog. Down 2 points, they were obviously covering. If you had a bet on SAS +2.5, it was really convenient if the Spurs didn’t score, force overtime, and potentially lose the cover in the extra period.

Not saying Monty knew this but JUST SAYING.

(h/t @dan_hodgkins)