Big man Aaron Gordon connected on an alley-oop dunk from Jamal Murray during the Denver Nuggets’ season-opening win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
It probably doesn’t count.
Midway through the third quarter of the game at Ball Arena in Denver, Murray caught a pass from the left wing on a fast break. After one dribble, he tossed the ball to Gordon, who caught the ball with one hand and threw it to LeBron James.
James knew immediately that something was wrong. He began flagging down officers for a call but never received one. The game continued as if nothing had happened.
However, if you look closely at the dunk, you can clearly see that Gordon’s right hand has caught the basket in advance.
This is a clear violation because players cannot “help themselves attempt to score by using any part of the basket…to lift, hold, or lift themselves up.”
But the referees missed it at the moment and the dunk went through.
Ultimately, missed calls are no big deal. The Lakers made a slight push in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 119-107 win, and the Nuggets held on after a ring ceremony celebrating their June championship. Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, and Murray had 21 points and 6 assists. Gordon finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. The Nuggets have now defeated the Lakers in six consecutive games, including a four-game sweep of the Lakers in last season’s Western Conference Finals.
James had 21 points and eight rebounds in the loss to the Lakers, who started last season on a five-game losing streak and lost 10 of their first 12 games. Taurean Prince scored 18 points and Anthony Davis had 17 points and 8 rebounds.
The Nuggets will face the Grizzlies on Friday in Memphis. The Lakers will host the Phoenix Suns next Thursday in what will be James’ first regular-season game against Kevin Durant since Christmas 2018.