It may be a day late but the NBA conceded that head coach Brian Shaw was correct – and it certainly doesn't change much.
Denver was trailing by two points with under a second on the clock Monday night when the Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee stepped to the free throw line and intentionally missed the shot to strategically run out the clock. The only issue was that he missed the rim completely which should have granted the Nuggets to take the ball out of bounds.
Shaw appealed to the referees immediately but to no avail.
"Upon review at the league office, we have confirmed that a free throw taken by Memphis' Courtney Lee with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game did not touch the rim," the league said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "A violation should have been called with Denver inbounding the ball with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Since the Nuggets had no timeouts remaining, they would not have been able to advance the ball to the frontcourt."
It's unlikely that the Nuggets would have been able to execute a play with so little time on the clock but nonetheless the obvious missed call upset the head coach. He sought a review and got very little explanation from the officiating crew.
"I still don't know what you can review and what you can't review," Shaw said critically following the game. "In a situation where it's a dead ball and there are three referees – and there is no live action going on, just looking at the free throw itself – I don't know why that can't be seen."
The mistake – and apology – is just another frustrating event in an altogether disappointing season for the Nuggets.