"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" – English idiom, first related to me by my father, with a few extra expletives tossed in

"If the frog woulda had a glass ass, he’d have only jumped once" – another idiom from the same gent, espousing his dislike of "if’s"

On the upside, the Denver Nuggets outscored the Brooklyn Nets by 12 points in the fourth quarter last night.

On the downside, they entered the frame down by 17, and at one point had been down by 29. Eventually, they shaved the lead to two before running out of gas. Removing all of the what-if’s, six points separated the Nuggets from a win last night, one of six close losses for the Nuggets this season. Backing up through the other five…

At the end of November, The Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder played into overtime, one of three Nuggets OT losses this season, all at the Pepsi Center. Though Denver whiffed on several opportunities to seal the game, a single point could have made a world of difference.

Exactly a week earlier, and exactly the same story. Another overtime loss at the Pepsi Center, this time to the Toronto Raptors. One more point to our tally.

Back up to the second week of November, and the Nuggets are wrapping up a six-of-seven-on-the-road trip to start the season in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Denver fought hard, losing the game by a single point. Just two more points to our tally gives us a fourth win.

The Raptors have been tough on us clear back to Halloween night. Denver played their third game of the season in T Dot, and four more points would have changed that L to a W. Close…

Two nights prior, the Nuggets notched their first loss of the season in overtime versus Portland, another game a single point could have saved. So close…

Six close games. 15 points theoretically turns those to wins. How small a change in play is that? For the Nuggets to add 15 points to the 2,231 they have already scored this year, they’d have to increase scoring by a paltry two-thirds of a percentage point. And what would those six games get the Nuggets? Well, an inverted record, for one, taking Denver from 8-14 to 14-8, and into the sixth slot in the Western Conference standings.

Hell, in the ugly game of if’s, if the Nuggets simply score one more point in each of those overtime losses, their home record is 6-4 instead of 3-7, and they’re sitting in ninth place in the division, a game back of the eighth seed at 11-11.

Have the Nuggets played some uninspiring basketball of late? Absolutely. Could they be any more turnover-happy? Only if they were made out of puff pastry. Has Denver endured some embarrassingly sizable losses? Why yes, by 17, 18, 24, and 25 points already this season. But 15 well-timed points might still have Nuggets Nation a lot more excited and expanding, even in the eyes of the national media. If only. So close. Horseshoes and hand grenades.

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