The Denver Nuggets had a chance to beat the Washington Wizards on Monday night, despite committing two dozen turnovers. They trailed by two points with 32 seconds remaining. All they needed was a stop and a score to tie or go ahead.
But as Washington called a timeout to draw up a play, a bizarre thing happened: Nikola Jokic brushed Wizards head coach Scott Brooks on the way to Denver’s bench and was called for a technical foul.
Bradley Beal sunk the ensuing foul shot and then hit a driving layup to put Washington ahead by five. The sequence essentially put the game out of reach. The Wizards went on to win 109-104.
“Nikola was walking up the court. Scott Brooks was walking on the court. There was contact made. It was embellished a little bit, I think,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said afterward.
You hear players get accused of flopping all the time. But have you ever heard of a coach selling contact to get a call?
“The referees looked at it, and they called a tech,” Malone said. “So I guess (it was a) learning lesson. We have to make sure as we’re walking off the court on timeouts we have to avoid coaches at all costs.”
The technical foul was a sour note in an otherwise nice night for Jokic. He finished with 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists.
“I got a technical. I’m sorry because I put my team in a bad position,” Jokic said about bumping into Brooks. “That’s the only thing that I can say.”
Jokic committed seven turnovers. As a team, Denver turned the ball over 24 times, which has been a problem dating back to the preseason.
“Let’s be honest. We didn’t lose the game because of that play. We lost the game because of 24 turnovers and 29 points,” Malone said. “I don’t think it was intentional either. Scott Brooks is a very good coach and a good guy. Stuff happens in the heat of the moment that you can’t explain. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
Denver (1-2) kicks off a four-game road trip in Charlotte on Wednesday.
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