Tonight was a match-up primed for a Gallinari explosion and he delivered like Michael Bay in 1999. A career high 47 points by Danilo Gallinari lead an unexpected charge that almost made for the comeback of the new century.
Denver faced a 21 point halftime deficit after giving up 73 first half points. One could have imagined Brian Shaw on the sideline in place or Melvin Hunt. Dallas shot over 62% from the field after two quarter. Denver was barely over 35% shooting. The expectation was for the Lottery-bound Nuggets to cave to the Playoff secured Mavericks. Denver decided to fight back.
The Nuggets shot over 50% in the second half and still secured 13 offensive rebounds. The effort on the boards allowed for a plethora of second chance points as the Nuggets finally tied the game up at 105 and had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the 4th quarter. An isolation jumper from Ty Lawson failed, but the momentum was completely in the Nuggets favor heading into the first overtime.
Denver took advantage early jumping out to an early lead in OT. But the lead never grew beyond 4 points. Dallas closed the first OT on a 4-0 run, sending the game into overtime. A jump shot at the elbow by Kenneth Faried with 1.5 seconds remaining clanged off the iron ultimately sending the game into double-overtime.
In double-overtime, the Nuggets again built a four point lead with under 2 minutes remaining. Dallas clawed back to within one point and had the ball with no time left on the shot clock. This was Raymond Felton time. The former Nugget dribbled the ball above the key until attacking the rim in the final seconds, making a lay-up with 1.5 seconds remaining. The energy was sucked out of the Pepsi Center and what once felt like an inevitable feel-good story to help close a dour season became an episode of MTV Catfish. Denver had time to inbound at mid-court, but instead of dishing to the human flame, Gallinari, Faried recieved the inbound pass matched up against the much smaller Felton. His hook fell short and Dallas won the game. A loss by one point in double OT shows the same as a 42-point blowout in the box score, but what a fun game to watch.