The Utah Flash had everything coordinated for its season NBDL season opener Tuesday night in the McKay Events Center.
Former Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey sang the national anthem. The pregame fireworks when off as planned and the Utah Jazz Bear rode his Harley Davidson onto the court just before the starting lineup was announced.
But nothing ever quite goes as planned.
In the first game of the season there are always some glitches.
Blame this glitch on Kevin Lyde. Everything was going according to script until Lyde got the ball on the baseline and sank a 16-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Dakota Wizards a 99-97 win.
That wasn't in the script.
Utah Flash coach Brad Jones argued that Lyde's shot came after the buzzer sounded, but in the D-League there is no replay and the basket counted.
"I really thought they'd have something going to the basket. It was a nice play on their part," Jones said. "He (Lyde) slipped out on the corner. We had Brandon Wallace, our longest guy on the ball so they couldn't make a direct pass. He kind of snuck it around him and he made a great shot."
Utah trailed 97-94 with six seconds left, but Jones called a timeout and got the ball where he wanted it - in point guard Kevin Kruger's hands.
Kruger, who led the Flash with 25 points including 4-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line, did what all good point guards do. He found the guy with the hot hand.
Kruger got the ball to Cuffee in the corner, who sank a 3-pointer to tie the game, but after an officials discussion, one second was put back on the clock.
Just enough time for the Wizards to run one play.
"I don't think he got it off in time, but the refs counted it so you can't argue with it," Cuffee said. "Maybe it was a bad call, maybe it was a good call, but hey you've got to be ready for it. Things like that happen."
The Flash believe the game shouldn•t have come down to the last shot. They had a six point lead with three minutes to play, but couldn•t finish off the Wizards.
Cuffee scored two of his 24 points with a hit a jumper to put Utah up 76-72 with 7:15 to play. After Kyrylo Fesenko blocked a shot, Cuffee grabbed the loose ball the threw a pass down court that Wallace caught up to and did a pull-up on the rim after he dunked the Flash to a 78-73 lead.
But the Wizards came back. Rod Benson gave Dakota the lead when he cut inside and missed the shot, but got scored after goaltending was called, giving the Wizards a 94-92 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
After a Flash miss, Utah fouled Lyde, who made one of two free throws to push the lead to three. The Flash tried to tie the game on a Kruger 3-pointer. He missed but Wallace tipped in the miss with seven seconds remaining.
Utah was forced to foul again and this time chose Blake Ahern. He sank both free throws with seven seconds left.
The Flash called timeout and got the ball to Kruger, who was partially responsible for helping UNLV beat BYU in the Mountain West Conference tournament last year. Kruger's assist to Cuffee looked like it would send the game to overtime before Lyde•s last-second heroics.
The loss spoiled an otherwise memorable night in front of a crowd of 4,584.
"It was amazing. That was a homecourt advantage right there with the crowd the way it was," Kruger said. "The people coming out and making noise. That was the type of crowd that was fun to play in front of. It helped us get motivated and gave us a little extra momentum."
The loss dropped the Flash to 1-2 on the year, while the Wizards, the NBDL league champions are now 1-2. The Flash will try again to get everyone on the same script on Thursday night when they host Bakersfield.