NBA Playoffs: Nuggets 106, Mavericks 105: Carmelo’s 3 gives Denver controversial win
By Jaime Aron
DALLAS ó No matter how many things the Denver Nuggets did wrong Saturday, they somehow always remained within striking distance of the Dallas Mavericks.
And with a second left, Carmelo Anthony struck.
Anthony broke free of a defender trying to foul him and swished a 3-pointer, giving the Nuggets a 106-105 victory over the Mavericks and a 3-0 series lead.
About two hours after the game president of league operations Joel Litvin put out a brief statement saying “the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s 3-point basket.”
Denver trailed only 105-101 with 31 seconds left, then Anthony got a quick dunk off an inbounds play. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki missed a 13-footer with about 8 seconds remaining and the Nuggets called timeout. Anthony then took an inbounds pass and Wright tried to foul him ó twice ó since the Mavericks had a foul to give.
Anthony lost his dribble the first time, then bounced off the second bump to find himself wide open. He buried the 3 from right in front of the Mavericks bench, where everyone was going bonkers over the lack of a foul call.
“I didn’t see a foul,” Nuggets coach George Karl said.
Dallas’ last-gasp chance was a high-arching 3 from Nowitzki that was nowhere close to going in. At the buzzer, the crowd fell silent, the Nuggets began to celebrate and the Mavericks began to gripe.
Team owner Mark Cuban had an incident with a cameraman and Josh Howard was among several clusters of Dallas players who appeared to be exchanging words with Denver players and staff. Cuban continued his tirade behind the scorer’s table, his face reddening.
“Officiating has to be a science, not an art,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “If I sit here and belabor this it’s not going to be good for our league. It’s one of those times where it’s really an unfortunate thing.”