Grizzlies vs Nuggets: Randolph, Memphis overcome Mozgov, Denver

Kenneth Faried drives to the hoop. - Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

An impressive effort from Timofey Mozgov is overshadowed is not enough to overcome Zach Randolph and a controversial final call.

Timofey Mozgov tied a career high with 23 points in tonight's contest, unfortunately Denver needed him to score just one more point.  With seven seconds remaining in the game and the Nuggets down by three points, Mozgov received the inbound pass from the sideline just outside the three point line.  He launched a wide open three pointer that had the line, but not the distance as it hit front iron.  Mozgov hustled to his own rebound, but instead of kicking it out to another Nugget from deep, he seemed to panic and just threw down a two handed jam.  The Nuggets were left with no other option to foul, down one with 0.7 seconds remaining.  Courtney Lee made his first free throw, and knowing Denver had no more timeouts left, intentionally missed his second free throw.  Kenneth Faried pulled down the rebound, but time expired before he could heave a 90 foot prayer.  The game was over.  Memphis won 94-92.

But upon further review, the second free throw did not appear to hit the rim.  0.7 seconds should have been put back on the clock with Denver inbounding the ball from the baseline.  The odds certainly were stacked against the Nuggs, but at least they would have had a chance!

Anthony Randolph scored 20 points with 11 rebounds, while Mike Conley and Courtney Lee added 19 points each.  The Grizz moved into a three way tie for the 7th seed in the Western Conference with the Suns and Mavericks.  Memphis will face off with both Dallas and Phoenix one more time this year, allowing them an opportunity to make or break their postseason fate.

Ty Lawson was held to just eight points, and as nice as it was to see Mozgov assert himself against the reigning defensive player of the year, this team goes as Lawson goes.  Was the final Denver offensive possession a blatant attempt at tanking?  Is our coach that bad at drawing up inbounds plays?  Is the oft heard grumbling of players refusing to step up in late game situations this bad?  In game 74 of a lost season, these questions are asked less frequently and with more indifference than during this same point in the recent past.  If it leads to landing, at the very least, a sold team contributor in June's Draft to End All Drafts, then this season will be forgotten even more quickly than it deserves.

Box Score

Opposing Take

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