Nuggets 114, Thunder 113
Observations, news and notes from Wednesday night’s game……..
* The controversial inbounds pass to Carmelo Anthony was a clean play according to veteran official Dick Bavetta AND the official rule book. It was not a backcourt violation, and Anthony is allowed to tip it in the frontcourt before retrieving it in the backcourt as long as he doesn’t have full possession.
According to Rule No. 4, Section 6, Article G of the NBA Official Rule Book, “Frontcourt/backcourt status is not attained until a player with the ball has established a positive position in either half during a jump ball, a steal by a defensive player, a throw-in in the last two minutes of the fourth period and/or any overtime period or any time the ball is loose.”
* The kick ball call 12 seconds earlier? That’s another story. A replay clearly showed Westbrook didn’t kick the ball and in fact hit it with his hand. That call turned the tide. Thunder players were streaking down court for an uncontested layup and would have been ahead 113-111 with less than 25 seconds left to play. The call was a bang-bang play, though, and a tough one to see at full speed with a lot of bodies around the ball.
* Kevin Durant came through in the clutch again against Denver. Anthony again stole his glory. Questionable calls aside down the stretch, Anthony’s layup at the front of the rim with 5.3 seconds left was contested and nothing short of spectacular.
* A better option for the Thunder next time with 5.3 seconds remaining might be to let Westbrook penetrate and try to get a layup or get to the free throw line. Thunder coach Scott Brooks drew up the play for Durant but 5.3 seconds wasn’t enough to run him off all those screens. Either let Westbrook do his thing or inbound the ball to Durant. Seems simple.
* Durant was incredible again. He flirted with a triple double. 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He was efficient again (10-for-19) and limited his turnovers tonight with only two.
* J.R. Smith was a problem tonight with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting off the bench. He scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter to help the Nuggets take the lead. He helped bury the Thunder then showered praise on OKC. “I love it here,” he said. “This is a great city with great people. Every since I played here in high school the fans have always embraced me. I really love it here.”
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