Bulls-Nuggets replay controversy feels like deja vu

Bulls-Nuggets replay controversy feels like deja vu

March 19, 2013, 4:15 am
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Mark Strotman

A potentially botched call in Monday night's Bulls-Nuggets game may have cost Chicago a win, but it wasn't the first time those words have been uttered.

With 46 seconds left in overtime, Denver point guard Ty Lawson drove to the basket and missed a lay-up. Center Kosta Koufos was trailing the play and, while the ball sat on the front of the rim, he tapped it in to give the Nuggets a 116-115 lead.

Tom Thibodeau then used a full timeout, all the while he and the rest of the Chicago bench argued for the officials to use replay to check the play and, thus, negate Koufos' lay-up and the Nuggets' brief lead.

The Bulls took the lead one possession later on a Joakim Noah offensive rebound-and-layup, but with 7 seconds to play Andre Iguodala unloaded a 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Nuggets a one-point lead, 119-118--Nate Robinson had hit 1-of-2 free throws in between.

On the Bulls' last possession, Marco Belinelli drove left and attempted a tough fade-away with a hand in his face. The attempt looked short, something Noah realized, and the center tapped the ball in before it came down. What was originally ruled a basket, the referees went back to the tape after a Nuggets timeout and ruled Noah's tap-in basket interference, the correct call as stated in Rule 11, Section G.

The bang-bang play, and the no-call on Koufos' illegal tip-in cost the Bulls the game, a similar scenario to what occurred in 2009, on the same court, against the same team.

With the game tied at 89, Chauncey Billups was fouled by Kirk Hinrich with 0.6 seconds remaining. After making the first, he intentionally missed the second. Noah grabbed the rebound and called timeout with three-tenths of a second left, advancing the ball into the frontcourt. From there, center Brad Miller broke free and drained a 22-foot flip to give the Bulls a one-point lead.

But as it did last night, replay doomed the Bulls.

Officials ruled Miller did not release the shot in time, nullifying the basket and giving the Nuggets, just like last night, a one-point win. The call, like last night, was disputed, and replay did not give much affirmation that Miller didn't get the shot off. But the call was overturned, and that was that.

Controversy struck twice between these two teams, and both times the Bulls came out the losers.