We’re counting down the 50 best moments of the Denver Nuggets’ 2018-19 season. So many great things happened with the Nuggets over the last 365 days so the Stiffs wanted to go back and re-live some of the very best shots, games, quotes, and memorable events along the way.
5. Nikola Jokic played a perfect game
Mike Olson: It’s easy to see in retrospect what a glorious game Nikola Jokic had, but a lot of Nuggets Nation may have skipped this one as the season began. In their second game of the season, the Nuggets took on the lowly Phoenix Suns on a cool Saturday night in Denver. But nothing was cooler than the play of Jokic, who had 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists on a perfect shooting night, going 11 of 11 from the floor, including 3 of 3 beyond the arc. It would be the Joker’s first triple-double of many this season, and also put him in some rarified air. Jokic’s unimpeachable game is a feat matched only once before, by a player he’s often linked to in his accomplishments as he goes, Wilt Chamberlain. One of the great performances of Jokic’s career, and a precursor to the incredible run yet to come.
4. Jamal Murray’s 21-point 4th quarter saved the season
Adam Mares: It can’t be over-stated just how close the Nuggets came to completely ruining their season. Late in the 3rd quarter of game two the Nuggets found themselves in a hole. They had already lost home court advantage by dropping game one and game two was headed in the same direction. The Nuggets looked out of sorts and Jamal Murray in particular was in a rut. Then...
3. The Nuggets rally back from a 24-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies
Mike Olson: It was over. No, seriously, just finished. In a chilly January night in Memphis, the Nuggets shooting had gone as cold as ice. They trailed the Grizzlies by 19 at the half, which Memphis expanded to a 24-point margin partway through the third quarter. Though Denver was able to close the gap to 17 by the end of that frame, there was little doubt this one was done. Only the hardiest of Nuggets Nation stuck around to see what was an inevitable demise.
Until it wasn’t. The Nuggets threw out a 35-15 whipping in the last frame, including a 23-7 run to end it all to take home a win in one of their greatest comebacks in team history. Those of us who had lost their voices cursing the Nuggets through the first three quarters found we still could squeak out a little joy to celebrate one of the team’s most thrilling victories of the year, and the win cemented the Nuggets never-say-die attitude they carried throughout the rest of the season.
2. Jamal Murray scored a career-high 48 points to bury the Boston Celtics
Murray had a handful of these scoring outbursts and most of them made it somewhere on this top 50 list but none was more special than his 48-point breakout game against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. For starters, it was the first time Murray had gotten THAT hot for that long. Factor in that it was a big game against a big market team with a formidable star point guard and what you wind up with is one of the most memorable performances of the season.
Other players on the roster have had special moments but there’s something unique about the way it feels to cheer on Murray when he gets in his zone.
1. Take that L on the way out
Adam Mares: I’m not sure that Nuggets head coach Michael Malone knew what he had done when he uttered those famous words. I’m actually certain that he did not since he immediately began to panic as the clip of him telling Lakers fans to “take that L on the way out” began to go viral. Coach was worried that the comment could be taken out of context and mistaken to being directed at the Lakers players. Fortunately, he didn’t have to worry. Everyone knew what he meant, especially the die-hard Nuggets fans who had waited years for someone to say exactly what he said, at exactly the moment that he said it.
With one off-of-the-cuff speech, Michael Malone defined the new-look Denver Nuggets and redefined what it meant to be a Nuggets fan. With that line, a new era of Mile High Basketball began and a fanbase that was tired of feeling like a guest in their own home finally had a battle cry. 2018-19 felt like a year of rebirth for the Denver Nuggets are here to stay. Pepsi Center is back to being one of the best home court advantages in all of sports and the Nuggets bandwagon is charging full speed ahead. The fanbase has been galvanized and this city has been reclaimed.
So all of the transplants from Barstow, California or from Southie who haven’t converted and who still claim whatever town they so clearly felt wasn’t as great as Denver, keep coming to Pepsi Center all you want wearing your soulless Lakers gold or your pedantic Celtics green.
But just know you’re gonna take that L on the way out.
Which moment was your favorite?
This poll is closed
Jokic’s perfect game
Murray’s 21-point 4th quarter
The 24-point comeback
Murray’s 48-point explosion
Take that L on the way out