All Denver had to do was inbound the ball, hit their free throws, and they would knock off New Orleans 114-112 and go 7-1 since Jamal Murray went down.
But a miscommunication on the inbounds led to a turnover and one final shot for the Pelicans. Brandon Ingram drove the lane, and when Nikola Jokic rotated to cut off the drive Ingram slid a pass to Zion Williamson in the dunker’s spot, he went up for the game-tying basket — and Jokic blocked him.
JOKic DoEsn't PlaY deFENSE pic.twitter.com/mi2xGtd8xt
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 29, 2021
There was no foul call and the Nuggets went on to win.
However, the NBA’s Last 2 Minute Report says that the referees got it wrong, that Jokic fouled Zion on the shot. The exact phrasing from the report:
Jokic (DEN) makes contact with Williamson’s (NOP) wrist that affects his shot attempt.
That would have led to two shots and given Zion a chance to tie the game. (The only other incorrect call in the final two minutes, according to the report, is that Facundo Campazzo should have been called for an offensive foul against Ingram with :36 seconds remaining. Instead, Ingram was called for the foul, and Campazzo made both free throws, putting Denver up six.)
After the game, Zion handled this like a pro saying, “I gotta earn my respect. I’m only in year two. Gotta get a couple more years under my belt and, hopefully, things change with that.”
The loss is a blow to the Pelicans, who almost need to win out to have any chance of climbing into the play-in games.