Do you believe in miracles?
If nothing else, the Denver Nuggets needed a win to shake off some late season rust heading into their first playoff appearance in six seasons.
The rust is still there. For 43 minutes, the Nuggets slogged around like it was the 82nd game of the season. With about four minutes remaining in the game, they faced an 11 point deficit and a playoff date with the Oklahoma City Thunder looked imminent.
But somehow the Nuggets woke up, decided they remembered how to shoot the basketball, and took over. Will Barton drilled a stepback three. Gary Harris got to the free throw line. The defense clamped on the Timberwolves like it never has before.
The result? A 15-0 run to close the game, culminated by a Jamal Murray three-pointer that made the quiet Pepsi Center explode and give Denver the lead for good. Final score: 99-95.
Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver with 29 points and 14 boards, while Murray, Harris and Barton all contributed in double figures. Andrew Wiggins put up 25 for Minnesota, but it was Cameron Reynolds off the bench that lit up the Nuggets, going 5-for-7 from three.
Denver clinched the second seed in the Western Conference and will match up against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. A miraculous second half by Portland against the Kings ensured that Houston fell to the fourth seed, and as long as the Nuggets can take care of business against the Spurs, they would avoid both Golden State and the Rockets until the Western Conference Finals. The plan worked!
The Nuggets are 5-5 in their last 10 games and have looked far from desirable late in the season. None of that matters now though. It’s a whole new season now. LET’S GO!!!!