The Denver Nuggets’ 12th consecutive win didn’t come easily or without controversy.
While Andre Iguodala’s 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left in overtime will go down as the game-winning shot in the Nuggets’ 119-118 win over Chicago, the Bulls feel otherwise.
“We felt like we got it stolen from us,” Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said, referring to the play with 1.7 seconds left in which Chicago center Joakim Noah grabbed a shot from teammate Marco Belinelli that was on its downward path to the basket and slammed it home.
The officials initially didn’t blow their whistles, but when Denver called an immediate timeout and loudly complained that it was goaltending, the referees reviewed video and disallowed Noah’s bucket, sending the Bulls to their seventh loss in their last 11 games.
“If we deem the ball in its descent has a chance to score, and therefore it’s in the cylinder, it’s either offensive basket interference or it’s goaltending, that’s it,” referee Ken Mauer told a pool reporter when asked about the game-deciding call.
“It’s a tough play,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said, citing a similar play just before Noah’s by Denver’s Kosta Koufos that was not called by the officials.
“From my angle, it looked like it was a good play, it looked like the ball was short,” Thibodeau said of Noah’s play. “Koufos’, I know was on the rim, and to me I guess we have to call the league and get an interpretation. Maybe I don’t understand the rule correctly.”
Noah was incensed.
“That’s what is frustrating. How are you going to review that one, but you can’t review the one two plays before it. … I just know the refs are doing the best they can in those situations, but it cost us the game today, it’s disappointing.”
Denver coach George Karl didn’t see it that way — but with somewhat of a caveat about the similar circumstances surrounding Koufos’ play.
“There is no question it was goaltending,” Karl said of Noah’s play. “The ball was going to hit the rim. I was too far away to see the play on Kosta’s tip-in shot.”
Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 35 points, Corey Brewer added 16 and Ty Lawson 13. Iguodala finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Andre Miller had 13 assists.
Nate Robinson led Chicago with 34 points, Luol Deng had 21, Belinelli scored 18, and Noah added 12 rebounds and 14 points.