It was in basketball parlance a who's-your-daddy moment and it came uncharacteristically early in the third quarter of the derby in Napier yesterday.
But all hell broke loose with 44:4 seconds to go as the new electronic scoring board and the shot clock stole the gloss from the IMS Payroll Hawks' emphatic 81-72 victory over the Breakers Manawatu Jets at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Taradale.
At the final buzzer of the Bartercard National Basketball League (NBL) game, losing coach Darron Larsen was seething and threatening to lodge a protest over the electronic malfunction while his triumphant counterpart, Tab Baldwin, was philosophical as his men kept their unblemished home run and a perch below leaders Wellington Saints.
"That was atrocious. It's absolutely inexcusable to have a clock fail like that and then penalise a team for a good defence," Larsen vented his spleen, lamenting how the Jets had got the defensive rebounds only to see referees Apai Apai and Shane Nikora, of Hawke's Bay, and Sean Cronin, of Palmerston North, give the Hawks another shot at it as the Jets trailed 76-72.
"Then they run two seconds and inbound the ball, the guy runs from out of bounds and inbounds and fumbles the ball.
"Can you tell me if he can do all that in two seconds - that's terrible," he said after Hawks shooting guard Everard Bartlett, in almost street basketball fashion, looped a three-pointer following a re-feed from the sideline in the attacking third.
It baffled Larsen that officials could deduce a clock wasn't going to run down and then have someone on the scoreboard attempting to "count it out" as Apai and Nikora deliberated with Larsen and Baldwin breathing down their necks.
Larsen argued none of the players knew what was happening or where the clock should have been.
"That's terrible. It's schoolboy rubbish and I just can't understand it ... and nobody wants to justify what's happened."
What compounded the issue, he said, was the adjustment of the clock just before halftime. With one second left, timers rolled it back to 2.8sec amid howls from the visitors' bench.
It controversially came only moments before Bay-born Jets forward Arthur Trousdell intercepted a base-line speculator from Hawks captain Paora Winitana inside his half only to land it cleanly into the hoop but referee Cronin disallowed it.
"They bring out another clock from somewhere - it's ridiculous. This is supposed to be the NBL. It is supposed to be a professional organisation with clocks that run and people who know how to run them but players get penalised for it."
Had the Hawks played well to beat them he would have taken it on the chin but, he felt, the Jets went into halftime ahead 38-32 and the hosts were strong in the final quarter.
He lauded the physicality from both sides and the derby mentality the Hawks faithful have come to expect in the past few years.
The Hawks' US imports Dustin Scott, in early foul trouble and sitting it out in the last spell with point guard Jarrod Kenny, and Kareem Johnson were the difference with their double-doubles - 19 points, 16 rebounds and 12 points, 14 rebounds, respectively.
Bartlett also had the Midas touch, sublime with his signature shots from downtown, for a game-high 21 points.
Point guard Kenny was the one with 33 minutes of court time that yielded single-digit points, rebounds and assists.
Conversely the Jets had Jeremiah Trueman rumbling but they sorely missed Nick Horvath who sat it out with a torn abdominal although Larsen begged to differ on the big-men theory.
Larsen said his men stopped running offence and took poor shots so it had nothing to do with a big guy on the floor.
"We had guys taking too long getting into their sets ... because most of the time they were playing small ball with us anyway.
"We were showing no poise or direction out there on the floor."
He was equally adamant the Jets didn't get sucked into playing the Hawks' fast-break hustle as his guards were reduced to bricklayers when the Hawks beefed up their defence.
However, the visitors did admirably put up their shutters in the second spell when the hosts seemed to be flirting with individualism.
Hawks bench centre Shaquille Hohipa-Wilson was a victim of three steals leading to halftime.
Baldwin said they had expected a tough clash and got it.
The Jets' switching defences threw them off their kilter considering the swift turnaround time after beating Waitakere Rangers at home on Good Friday.
"I think some of our players gained too much confidence from the individual success they had had in the first quarter and that didn't work in second quarter."
The pep talk at halftime saw the Hawks improve their rebounding and three-point shooting.
"With all the disruptions of the clock - they were difficult to handle - we managed to close out the game."
It was imperative, he felt, for both teams to understand what the refs' perception was and adjust.
"You know how much time you have because you know the clock won't help you."
Baldwin said with 44 seconds' game time left and 12 seconds on the shot clock, the Hawks returned to just two seconds on the latter.
"If it's 44 on the main clock then it must be 12 on the shot clock - that's logic, that's math."
He accepted there was confusion and some people got caught up in the moment.
Bartlett's ridiculous miracle shot took the pressure off the Hawks.
He felt Larsen got an advantage and "we were robbed of 10 seconds".
"If there was confusion there then it's between Darron and the refs."
The Saints yesterday survived a furious comeback to pip the OceanaGold Nuggets 77-76.
The Hawks will hit the road this weekend for a testing double-header to the Nuggets and Southland Sharks.