It was a foul.
That much was obvious.
Williams should've been awarded two free throws. But the referees missed it.
The ball went off Williams and out-of-bounds. Replays confirmed as much.
But there was nothing the Nets could do. "De-troit Bas-ket-ball!" it was.
The Nets didn't lose to the Pistons 103-99 Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills solely because of that play. They lost because they gave up 60 points in the paint and were outscored by 18 in the second quarter.
Still, it didn't help. And perhaps it's something the NBA rules committee might want to look at it.
"I'm not on the committee. I'm sticking to coaching," Nets coach Jason Kidd told reporters in Detroit. "I'll leave it to the committee [if they want to change the rule] somewhere down the road. ... Unfortunately, we felt he got fouled, but you move on."
Added Joe Johnson: "It happens. As bad as we may have wanted that to be a foul, the refs can't see everything."
Kidd was proud of his team, which cut a 21-point deficit to two, but couldn't get any closer.
"The guys fought for 48 minutes," Kidd said. "That's what I told those guys after the game. I was proud of them for fighting."
Added Andray Blatche: "This team a couple weeks ago, we might not have come back."
The Nets (8-15) lost the game, as well as their three-game winning streak, in the second, when they gave up 38 points, the most points they've given up in any quarter this season. They trailed by 17 points at the half.
Without Brook Lopez, the Nets had no answers for Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, who combined for 44 points and 24 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey went off in the second, finishing with 17 points. Brooklyn is 0-11 when giving up more than 100 points.
Williams was tremendous -- again -- scoring 22 points and dishing out nine assists. He just didn't have much help for the first three quarters.
The Nets were down 91-70 with 11 minutes left. Then slowly they started looking like a team that was fresh -- not one that was playing the second half of a back-to-back.
They turned up the intensity and got stops at the defensive end. Mirza Teletovic (career-high five 3-pointers) caught fire. Blatche (back-to-back 20-point games as a Net for the first time ever) also stepped up. So did Paul Pierce (12 points), who came off the bench for the third straight game.
But Blatche missed two free throws with 1:38 remaining that would've brought the Nets within three, and Monroe responded with a hook shot to make it 100-93.
Then, after Williams was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws, the missed call happened. Pierce knocked down a triple with 11 seconds left that brought the Nets within 101-99, but Kyle Singler drained a pair of free throws at the other end, and that was it.
There were plenty of positives and just as many negatives, if not more.
If anything comes from this game, it should be a change that allows referees to call fouls on video replays if they've missed them.
It didn't cost the Nets the game. But it sure didn't help.