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Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Nuggets edge Bulls on replay decision

CHICAGO (AP) Chauncey Billups sat and laughed, figuring the Denver Nuggets would celebrate soon enough. In the meantime, the Chicago Bulls were having their moment.

News photo
Battle royal: Sacramento's Tyreke Evans deflects a pass away from Oklahoma City's Etan Thomas during the Kings' 101-98 win on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Billups hit the go-ahead free throw with six-tenths of a second left and Denver beat Chicago 90-89 on Tuesday night after a potential winning jumper by Brad Miller was overturned following a lengthy replay review.

"As soon as I saw the flight of the ball, I knew it was good," Billups said. "Then, I was sitting and laughing. Not so much about the shot, but looking at their reaction. They were dancing and jumping around like they had just made the Sweet 16. The longer it took, the better I felt. It was a great ending."

And a nerve-racking one.

Billups was fouled by Kirk Hinrich on a drive and then intentionally missed the second free throw after making the first to break the tie, figuring the Bulls would need a "miraculous" shot. He didn't count on this: Joakim Noah grabbing the rebound with three-tenths of a second remaining, and the Bulls nearly pulling it off.

After a timeout, Miller caught the inbounds pass from Hinrich and, in one motion, buried a jumper from the top of the key. The crowd went wild. So did the Bulls.

"It was crazy," said Miller, who had two points in 14 minutes. "I was just trying to win a game and that was a lot of fun."

It didn't last.

After about a 10-minute review, the officials ruled he did not get the shot off in time, and the Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak.

"I thought it was good when I first saw it," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "That is irrelevant. The refs have to make the call. My understanding — 0.3 is enough time to catch and shoot. But I guess the ball was on his fingertips, probably. The refs made the call after looking at it about 20 times."

And the longer they took, the more confident Nuggets coach George Karl became that they would overturn the shot.

"Fortunately I just read the rule a couple of days ago that with three-tenths of a second you can't pivot or turn," said Karl, who got his 939th win to move past Red Auberbach into eighth place on the NBA's all-time list. "It doesn't count. The longer it took, I thought the more it was in our favor. We've talked about missing that second free throw. It's a perfect situation with five-tenths, it's imperfect at six or seven."

Carmelo Anthony scored a season-low 20 points for Denver, while Billups added 17, and Kenyon Martin had 15 points and 10 rebounds after missing a game with a bruised left fibula.

Derrick Rose led Chicago with 22 points, while Luol Deng scored 21. Noah had a career-high 21 rebounds for the Bulls, who had won three straight.

Heat 90, Wizards 76

In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 41 points and the Heat remained in first place in the Southeast Division.

It's the second time Wade scored at least 40 this season, both against Washington.

Trail Blazers 93, Grizzlies 79

In Memphis, Brandon Roy scored 20 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Portland won its third straight.

Steve Blake and Greg Oden had 14 points each for Portland, all of Oden's coming in the second half.

Magic 93, Bobcats 81

In Charlotte, Dwight Howard had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Vince Carter scored 15 points for Orlando in his return from a sprained ankle.

Mavericks 121, Rockets 103

In Dallas, Jason Terry scored 24 points, Erick Dampier had 14 points and 20 rebounds for the Mavs, who overcame an early 17-point deficit.

Dallas went on a 22-3 run that started late in the first half and helped it bounce back after a sluggish start.

Kings 101, Thunder 98

In Sacramento, Jason Thompson had 21 points and 14 rebounds to help the Kings to their first three-game winning streak in over a year.

The Kings (4-4) reached the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 4, 2006.

Shaq, wife splitting up

LOS ANGELES (AP) Shaquille O'Neal's wife is splitting from the Cleveland Cavaliers center.

Va'Shaundya O'Neal filed for legal separation with intent to divorce on Monday in Los Angeles. She cited irreconcilable differences.

She is seeking spousal and child support and full legal custody of the couple's four children. No monetary amounts were listed in the court filing.

"Obviously, this is a difficult time for our family, and we request that the media respect our privacy," Shaquille O'Neal said in a statement released by the team late Tuesday. "I will continue to focus on being there for our children and I am confident that Shaunie will do the same."

The O'Neals were married for six years, 11 months.

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