With 33 seconds left in the quarter, Jamal Murray hit a jump shot to bring the Nuggets within two points in a close game. Right as the shot was going in, however, Mahinmi shoved center Nikola Jokic, who in reaction to the unexpected contact hit the deck pretty hard.
According to the report the referees incorrectly did not call a foul on the play, stating that “Mahinmi (WAS) dislodges Jokic (DEN) from his rebounding position during the shot attempt.”
This incorrect call is noteworthy for a few reasons. For one, this was the play right before the very questionable technical foul call on Jokic for bumping into Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Had the foul been called, that interaction would not have happened. The subsequent technical really put a damper on the Nuggets momentum, and the game was pretty much over from there.
Additionally, there was a clear double-standard on this type of foul from the referees during the game. Earlier in the quarter, Jokic himself was called for the same thing when he nudged Marcin Gortat on a made three-pointer from Kelly Oubre Jr. The foul turned into a very unique four-point play as Gortat was rewarded a free throw. For the refs to swallow their whistles on Mahinmi when his push on Jokic was far more blatant than that of Jokic’s on Gortat is tough to see, especially at such a crucial moment.
While there is no way to know what the outcome of the game would have been had the foul actually been called, it is frustrating for the Nuggets to see controversial calls potentially cost them a win. That said, Denver did themselves no help by turning the ball over 23 times throughout the game. A loss is a loss, and all the Nuggets can do now is look to improve moving forward.