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Joakim Noah goaltending call costs Bulls OT victory over Nuggets

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau Carlos Boozer yell than out bounds call should go Bulls way late overtime period Chicago

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and Carlos Boozer yell that an out of bounds call should go the Bulls way late in the overtime period of the Chicago Bulls 119-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets Monday March 18, 2013. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 19, 2013 9:55AM



Phone calls will be made Tuesday morning.

Not one of them will change what happened to the Bulls in the 119-118 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday.

And not one of them was going to stop Joakim Noah from questioning the review rule as adamantly as he did.

“I just don’t understand why wouldn’t you review that one [basket by the Nuggets’ Kosta Koufos]? That’s what’s frustrating,’’ Noah said with a raising voice. “How are you going to review that one but you can’t review the one two plays before that? That’s some [bleeping] bull----, some [bleeping] bull----.’’

Just like that, the All-Star center ended the interview and walked out of the locker room, still looking for answers.

With 46.4 seconds left in overtime and the Nuggets seeing their 11-game winning streak in jeopardy, Koufos rebounded a Ty Lawson miss and put it back in for a 116-115 lead. But the ball looked to be on the rim, and that would mean offensive goaltending.

According to coach Tom Thibodeau, he asked the referees why it wasn’t reviewed when the Bulls called a timeout. He was told that because no call was made, no review could take place.

After Andre Iguodala hit a three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left, the Bulls appeared to get the miracle they were looking for when Noah redirected Marco Belinelli’s jumper into the bucket for a 120-119 lead.

That’s when confusion reigned.

The Nuggets’ bench went crazy, coach George Karl called a timeout and the officials reviewed the play. The basket was overturned because Noah interfered with the downward flight of the ball as it was heading toward the rim, and the Nuggets secured a franchise-best 12th consecutive win.

Thibodeau wasn’t disputing the eventual call, but he believed no one made a call on Noah’s play, so it shouldn’t have been reviewable.

“Don’t understand it, don’t understand it one bit,’’ Thibodeau said. “Koufos’ play, I asked them why they didn’t review it. Clearly it was on the rim. They told me because they didn’t make the call, they couldn’t review it. So that’s the rule. I thought we had the video stuff to make sure we got it right.

“And those are tough calls, those are bang-bang plays. I understand that part of it. But I don’t understand why one is reviewable and one isn’t. After watching the replay, and I watched it when it occurred, none of them made the call on [Noah’s] either.’’

According to several of the official scorers, one of the refs indicated he made a call. But none of the Bulls players or coaches heard or saw the ref make the call.

“We’re obviously excited, we’re celebrating, then all of a sudden [the Nuggets’] bench is yelling to review. They review and take it away,’’ Carlos Boozer said.

The loss dropped the Bulls to 36-30, and while Nate Robinson scored a season-high 34 points, box scores and career highs didn’t seem to matter much. Even for a Bulls team that remained short-handed.

“I don’t want to hear that,’’ Thibodeau said when asked about being undermanned. “Made a lot of mistakes, got to play for 48 minutes. We’ve got to get the job done.’’

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