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.