An anonymous source pegs the blame for Toronto's shot clock malfunction on ESPN

An anonymous source pegs the blame for Toronto's shot clock malfunction on ESPN

The shot clock malfunction that turned Game 1 of the opening round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets into a near calamity was an embarrassment to all involved. The NBA did not like the sideshow of the public address announcer having to count off ticks on the clock in its opening game of the postseason, and the players likely did not enjoy both their rhythm being interrupted and their routine altered as the possessions wore down. And the Air Canada Centre certainly did not appreciate its beautiful facility being looked at by millions as some sort of Mickey Mouse affair.

It appears the problem occurred because there was a mouse in the house. That mouse was a real Mickey, namely ESPN, at least according to one anonymous ACC source who spoke to Jeff Zillgitt at USA Today:

ESPN caused the shot clocks to malfunction during Game 1 Saturday between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre when it tried to solve an internal issue by plugging into the same power source for the shot clocks, causing the power source to fry, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the cause of the malfunction.

Now, not to dismiss USA Today’s perpetually (very) good reporting, but one shouldn’t dismiss the idea that this is just a person familiar with the situation looking to cover their tails and slough off the embarrassment on another patsy.

That said, as someone who has worked in these types of situations, outside production crews descending on an in-house crew and making decisions on the fly whether they’re electrical- or production-related in nature always tends to produce a series of hiccups. You want to hope that these hiccups, following a poorly communicated bit of power cable improvisation, don’t happen mid-show, but this is a plausible scenario.

ESPN isn’t the big bad wolf here, either, but if this story is true whoever decided to leech onto the ACC’s power source wasn’t doing his or her due diligence, something that could have been avoided with just a few clicks into a walkie-talkie. And as a result, we were treated to a strange (and in the Raptors’ case, unsuccessful) second half on Saturday, with the ACC-owning Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment brass having to buy an entirely new initial and reserve power source setup in time for Tuesday’s Game 2.

Still, it allows us to run this clip:

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!