Welcome in to the Denver Nuggets Weekend Moment. A short post each weekend where we look at a memorable moment from Nuggets history that has something to do with the current events of the Nuggets today. For this week we are only going back a few years in history but perhaps to one of the most memorable buzzer beaters for the franchise. The 2017-2018 season was one with the Nuggets on the rise. They had improved their season win total in each of Michael Malone’s first two seasons and were looking to return to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Two thirds of the way through the season the team sat at a respectable record of 26-25 and was clinging to the 8th spot in the Western Conference. On February 2nd, 2018 they faced off against the 5th seeded, 30-21 Oklahoma City Thunder on national TV. OKC was led by the duo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George with the latter putting together a season campaign worthy of MVP consideration.

It was a game Denver could have had in the bag early, leading at halftime by fifteen points, but OKC’s star duo was not going to go quietly into the night. George ended up scoring 43 points on the night while Westbrook put up a 20 point, 21 assist effort and came a rebound shy of getting a triple-double. On Denver’s side Nikola Jokic was Nikola Jokic. He had a monster 29/13/14 triple double while Jamal Murray also poured in 33 points of his own. It would be the contributions of the third star for Denver that night that ended up being the difference maker though. Gary Harris, who was having his best season ever as a pro, scored 25 points of his own and went 5 for 9 from three. His final three of the game was his biggest, sinking OKC’s hopes of victory right after George had hit a three of his own. Harris took an inbounds pass from Jokic, rose up over a frantically scrambling Westbrook and buried the jumper as time expired. An iconic moment for Denver who ended up falling just short of the playoffs that season but clearly had turned a page from young upstart to playoff contender. Meanwhile the George/Westbrook pairing in OKC was broken up after the season with George heading to LA to play for the Clippers and sending OKC into a rebuild that appears finally to be complete. Their promising core of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (acquired in the George trade), Josh Giddey (drafted sixth overall in ’21), Chet Holmgren (drafted 3rd overall in ’22) and Jalen Williams (drafted 12th overall in ’22 with a pick received in the George trade) was built pretty much entirely on the decision by the organization to rebuild shortly after George left and that group looks to make it back to the postseason this year after their own three year playoff drought.