Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Harris rose in to the tips of the Rocky Mountains to get the shot off over a scrambling Russell Westbrook as the Harris and the Denver Nuggets stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder 127-124 on a buzzer beater on Thursday night.

Oklahoma City’s comeback effort would’ve been legendary. Down 15 to start the quarter, it was the combination of Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton who pulled the Thunder to within 10 and let Paul George and Russell Westbrook take over.

The Thunder fell to 30-22 on the season and now has lost back-to-back games after winning eight straight.

It was a tag team duo of Westbrook and George who went at the Nuggets with wild comeback that seemed inevitable the Thunder would win this game. Everything was set up to do so. Even with 30 seconds left, Westbrook took the in bounds pass and sprinted to the basket, cutting it to a one-point deficit with 28.9 seconds remaining.

Then, George found some space and nailed his fifth three-pointer of the night, tying the game at 124-124 with 1.4 seconds left. It appeared we are all heading to overtime.

Three questionable things happened on the in bounds play:

Did Jokic go outside of the “three-foot” box?

Maybe. This will be decided within the L2M. I’m going to say no. It’s a good no call. The rule gives players some leeway in moving within a three-foot area. However, when you’re seven foot, that, three-foot box is non-existent, really.

Did Jokic take longer than five seconds?

Again, maybe. For me, I count maybe 4.89999 seconds. Before I get to five watching the replay, Jokic is in bounding the ball. In my experience as an official, you’re not going to call a five-second call as the player is in the process of putting it into play. You’re going to sit there and give them that opportunity. If there still holding the ball and no action to get it in is being made, then you’ll have your five second call.

Offensive foul on Wilson Chandler?

Could be. It’s again, a questionable decision made. I am siding with the no call here. I felt it was incidental. If anything I have it against Grant. I don’t think Chandler did anything intentional to gain an advantage.

Bottom line on these type of last second calls. Basketball is easily the HARDEST sport to officiate. So, I often as my experience as an official, side with the officials. I do realize I am biased in a sort because of this. However, when I do evaluate these close calls, I do so with objectivity to either.

I will say, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong if the Last 2 Minute report says differently than what I explained. If that’s the case, too it’ll be the third time this season the Thunder lost the game on a bad call.

George finished with 43 points on 19-of-26 shooting, including 5-of-8 from deep. He is now only the third Thunder player in franchise (OKC, not Seattle) to score at least 43 points. He’s the first to do it since Kevin Durant in Jan. 2016.

Westbrook finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and 21 assists. The 21 assists is the third most in franchise (both cities) and the second most in Westbrook’s career. Had the game ventured into overtime, the his career high would’ve been broken.

Some things to really remember: Oklahoma City fell behind 20 points in the second half. They really have no one to blame for this lost but themselves, even if the L2M report says the officials messed up. Westbrook’s deplorable 2-of-12 start didn’t help and did Carmelo Anthony actually play tonight?

The Thunder now quickly regroup and head back to Oklahoma City where they’ll throw down with the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans will be short staffed due to all of the trades and injuries. Nikola Mirotic isn’t expected to be with New Orleans yet. So, the Pelicans may be short staffed.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.