Big Dunk Leaves Rim Crooked, Delays Celtics-Nuggets Game

The last Celtics-Nuggets game witnessed a bizarre scene that left players struggling to play for close to 35 minutes. What went wrong? A big dunk by Celtics player Robert Williams III left the rim crooked. Instead of having it replaced immediately, although it was obviously leaning to the left, officials let the game continue. Taking too long to replace the ring delayed the game, leaving players fuming.

How the Rim and Ring Became Crooked

A worker uses a level to check the rim after it was bent by a dunk by Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets.

The obvious culprit was Williams. He hung onto the rim after a massive dunk with 8:06 left in the fourth quarter. Once he got off it, it started leaning to the left. The basketball player didn’t even know he’d caused the problem. He said he only noticed it after his teammates started blaming him.

Following a time-out with 6:43 left, the Nuggets were leading 110-97, and officials finally decided to summon the area crew to level it. Several technicians came up to the arena with a ladder and some tools. But things weren’t solved so quickly. Before they knew it, more workers and a second ladder appeared.

What to Do in a Basketball Game Delay?

Taking over 20 minutes to fix a rim was called a “buzzkill” by coaches. Meanwhile, the basketball players found unique ways to pass the time. Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon, for example, jogged from one sideline to the other. Marcus Smart sat by himself close to the opposite free-throw line.

TV footage of the crooked rim.

Fans got entertained by games played on the big screen featuring plenty of memorable shots. Hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s could be heard on the arena’s sound system. Some players even started dancing to the tune to stay warmed up.

Workers initially tried to fix the rim. They took it off and inspected it, then put it back on. It appeared to be fixed. But before long, it was leaning to the left all over again. They spent all that time fixing it, and actually, all they did was just delay the game, players complained.