NBA: Nuggets got away with eight-second violation before key FT in win over Pelicans

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The Nuggets are hanging in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.

They’re a game behind the Trail Blazers, who own the tiebreaker – but also lost their starting center. Portland has lost two straight, to the Timberwolves and Jazz, without Jusuf Nurkic. Meanwhile, Denver beat the Pelicans, 134-131, Tuesday.

However, the Nuggets benefited from a key late officiating error in that victory.

Danilo Gallinari should have been called for an eight-second violation with 42.9 seconds left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Gallinari (DEN) does not advance the ball from the backcourt into his own frontcourt during the allowed 8 seconds.

A correct call would have meant a Denver turnover. Instead, the Nuggets kept the ball, and Nikola Jokic drew a foul and made a free throw.

Denver led by one, the value of Jokic’s free throw, when New Orleans began intentionally fouling.

The Nuggets are still unlikely to make the playoffs, but this missed call certainly boosted their odds. It also increased the likelihood Alvin Gentry, who’s reportedly coaching for his job, gets fired.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.