NUGGETS

Shorthanded Nuggets top Luka’s Mavs thanks to play you have to see

Nov 20, 2022, 8:26 PM
Vlatko Cancar, Luka Doncic...
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

No Nikola Jokic, no Jamal Murray, no Aaron Gordon, but Simon says Denver Nuggets win.

On Sunday, the extremely shorthanded Nuggets beat the Mavericks 98-97 in Dallas despite Denver dealing with COVID-19 and illness, keeping three starters sidelined. On top of that, it was an incredible shot from a Slovenian to beat the buzzer, which played a huge role. No, it wasn’t Luka Dončić, who missed at the final buzzer from near half-court. It was international teammate and NBA foe Vlatko Cančar, who hit from beyond halfcourt as the second quarter ended.

Cančar’s shot finished off a crazy sequence.

Dončić hit a three going into the locker room to put the Mavericks up seven. While a full-court game of Simon says was going on during the halftime show, the refs took another look at it. The extra view showed Dončić’s foot drifted out of bounds as he rose for the shot. But the teams were already in the locker room, and the court was filled. So they decided to replay the final two seconds of the second quarter after halftime but before the third. That’s when Cančar launched one toward the moon and cashed, making the game a one-point affair.

Watch the whole thing below.

Bones Hyland took over down the stretch, scoring 29 and securing a big board, while Michael Porter Jr. rebounded from two dreadful games to hit the would-be game-winner: a three in the face of Dončić.

Bruce Brown held Luka to 22 points, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that the Nuggets lost Jeff Green to an injury mid-game. It had shades of the time Denver went into Salt Lake City and won with only seven players due to trades around the deadline.

The six-point swing at halftime ended up looming large in the one-point Denver win.

The Nuggets are at home Tuesday against Detroit.

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