NBA admits to error that would’ve taken away Nuggets game-winner against Lakers in Game 4

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

As if being swept out of the Western Conference Finals wasn’t bad enough for the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA has admitted to a missed call in the final minute of Game 4 that led to the game-winning shot by the Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers lost 113-111 on a basket by Nikola Jokic after the Nuggets were awarded possession with 56.7 seconds remaining following a loose-ball scramble that went out of bounds.

The game was tied 111-111, and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray had the ball with 1:07 remaining. On the play, Murray, being guarded by Anthony Davis, drove from the right side into the lane before falling down while dribbling with his left hand. In the attempt to gain possession among six players, the ball was ruled to have gone out of bounds off Lakers guard Austin Reaves.

The NBA Last Two Minute Report deemed that the call was incorrect and the Lakers should have been given possession.

“Possession is awarded to Denver,” the report read. “However, the ball touches Murray’s (DEN) left hand last before going out of bounds. Reaves does not make contact with it. Possession should have been awarded to Los Angeles.”

Instead, Jokic drove off the inbounds pass from the left side and scored with a layup for the two-point lead with 51.7 seconds left.

The Lakers had multiple chances to retie the game, starting with LeBron James missing a fallaway from the baseline with 26.0 seconds left. After the Lakers chose not to foul the Nuggets, Murray missed a shot in the lane, and James got the rebound with 4.0 seconds left.

Following a timeout, James did not score on the final possession being guarded by Murray and Aaron Gordon, who was credited with the blocked shot. That play also was part of the NBA Last Two Minute Report and was deemed correct.

“Murray (DEN) uses both hands to make clean contact with the ball after James’ (LAL) gather,” the report read. “Gordon is aligning to move alongside James’ (LAL) path and marginal body contact occurs prior to Gordon cleanly blocking the driving shot attempt,” the report said.

The Lakers’ season ended with the loss, and they head into the offseason with uncertainty about James’ future.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.