The 9th Stiffs Night Out (SNO) might prove to be the most unforgettable ever. Not only did the Nuggets win at Oklahoma City on the second of a back-to-back, but the win was the Nuggets 13th in a row - a franchise record. And making the night extra special, it was our colleague Nate Timmons' birthday - a day that is typically a sure loser for the Nuggets - and 150-plus Stiffs gathered to watch the game to deliver enough karma to reverse the Timmons' Birthday Curse.
(Left to right: Sandy Clough, Renaud Notaro, Masai Ujiri, Lance Britton, & Andrew Feinstein)
Oh, and Nuggets vice president Masai Ujiri made a cameo appearance, just to throw a little extra karma into the mix. (That makes two SNO appearances by Mr. Ujiri - I doubt any other NBA GM has bothered attending this many fan rallies for their teams!)
What a night! Where do I start?
Having to play host, I must confess that I didn't watch this game as closely as I wanted to. But from what I could gather, the Nuggets seemed intent on dictating the tempo and aggressiveness throughout the game, notably in the second half, where they out-scored the Thunder by 11 by baiting the Thunder into some bad shots and making the most of their own second chance opportunities (17 offensive rebounds against 52 total rebounds - impressive numbers). And speaking of bad shots, both the Thunder and Nuggets were ice cold from three-point range (combining for just eight makes on 46 attempts) leaving plenty of rebounds to go around.
But at the end of the day, and pardon the tired sports cliche here, the Nuggets just wanted it more. A night removed from some suspect coaching decisions late in the game against the Bulls, Nuggets head coach George Karl seemed to have the magic touch tonight with his rotations, game plan and effort derived from his players. I don't know what hat Karl pulled this effort out of (I'll let Karl thank me for the Stiffs Karma later), but it was stunning considering the Nuggets played overtime the night before, they were up against one of the best home teams in all of basketball and starting point guard Ty Lawson was rumored to be under the weather.
Victory number 47 was nothing short of remarkable and I'm glad I got to experience it with a terrific collection of Nuggets fans, sports media personalities and Mr. Ujiri himself. I want to particularly thank FM104.3 The Fan's Sandy Clough, Mile High Sports' Doug Ottewill, Renaud Notaro, Lance Britton and Adam Kinney, and South Stands Fancast's Colin Daniels for joining us at Jake's tonight to deliver consecutive win #13. I also want to thank Nuggets superfans Russ and Vicki for generously donating four tickets to Thursday's 76ers game that we gave away to two lucky fans tonight. The Nuggets certainly needed all the help they could get!
Non-Stiff of the Game
-Andre Miller: In just 23 minutes of play, the now 37 year old (happy birthday!) Miller almost delivered a triple-double with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Those are Fat Lever numbers, my fellow Stiffs. More importantly, it was Miller who came through in the clutch and gave the Thunder defense fits down the stretch. Fantastic game by the savvy, old backup point guard.
Stiff of the Game
-Russell Westbrook: No one particular Thunder played poorly, but the Thunder starting point guard Westbrook - because we collectively hate him - gets the Stiff of the Game for not delivering a home victory against a team playing the second of a back-to-back with a sick point guard and a 37 year old back up point guard, no less. Suck it, Westbrook!
I want to sincerely thank the many Stiffs who attended our 9th SNO and made generous donations to the Denver Hooperz for our Denver Stiffs / Denver Hooperz / Jake's Food & Spirits NCAA bracket challenge. The Hooperz will send out weekly updates on your bracket status via email and be sure to come back to Jake's for the April 8th championship game to claim your prize of Spurs tickets or a $100 Jake's bar tab.
Oh, and 13 straight wins?! How about a boisterous "GO NUGGETS" before we go to bed tonight?!
More pictures from Stiffs Night Out!