Warriors beat Nuggets after referees wave off Iguodala buzzer-beater
By Ben Golliver
The drama in the first half of Thursday’s double-header was provided by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich electing to sit his starters, drawing harsh words from NBA commissioner David Stern. Thursday’s nightcap between the Warriors and Nuggets at Oracle Arena, on the other hand, featured good old-fashioned on-court action.
With three seconds remaining and the Nuggets trailing 106-103, Denver wing Andre Iguodala was granted three free throws on a questionable foul call. Warriors guard Jarrett Jack was hit with a foul for contacting Iguodala a few feet behind the three-point line. The refereeing crew deemed it a shooting foul as Iguodala followed through to simulate a shot attempt, earning the continuation call over the protestations of Warriors coach Mark Jackson. This story was just getting started.
Iguodala proceeded to make his first two free throws and miss the third, but the Nuggets caught a lucky break by somehow retaining possession during the loose ball scramble. Down one, 106-105, Denver guard Andre Miller then threw a sideline inbounds lob, apparently intended for 5-foot-11 point guard Ty Lawson. Not surprisingly, the lob failed to connect and the ball went out of bounds again. The Nuggets, miraculously, retained possession for a second time and still had time left on the clock, although there was only 0.5 seconds remaining.
That brings us to the moment shown in the video above. Iguodala corralled the crosscourt inbounds pass, pumped a bit to slide by Warriors guard Klay Thompson, and then buried a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. While Iguodala ran straight to the locker room, celebrating the apparent victory, video review determined that the ball was still in his hands when the clock hit zero, giving the Warriors a dramatic 106-105 victory.
That’s about as strange and convoluted as a three-second stretch of hoops can get. The Warriors, who improved to 9-6 with the win, aren’t complaining. They earned this one, even if they had to dodge three bullets in three seconds to bring it home.