The Denver Nuggets‘ record-breaking season and home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs meant nothing to Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors as they upset the third seed and moved on to the semifinals. The Nuggets have made the playoffs the last 10 regular seasons and have been eliminated in the first round all but one time.
The Nuggets capped the postseason with a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, coming back from 18 down with 9:11 left to play. It was too little too late, however, and the team couldn’t pull off the miracle.
Everything from poor free-throw shooting to horrible refereeing could be blamed on the loss, but the team put themselves in the situation to begin with. Losing game two at home was too much to overcome and the Nuggets once again showed that they can’t win a road game to save their season.
Coach George Karl certainly can’t be blamed for his team’s poor shooting. Corey Brewer looked terrible, shooting only 1-of-8 including no 3-pointers made on five attempts. On one 3-point attempt, he was so off that he got the ball stuck in between the glass and rim for a jump ball — it really makes you wonder how he could shoot that terribly with so much on the line.
Brewer wasn’t the only one shooting terribly, though, as the Nuggets as a team shot 25 percent on threes. They also only managed to make 34.7 percent of their total attempts and once again lost points from the free-throw line. A team cannot make only 13 of 21 (61.9 percent) from the stripe in the playoffs and win the game.
The Nuggets might have gotten away with shooting so terribly during the regular season, but not in the playoffs.
The Warriors had double the number of turnovers the Nuggets did and didn’t shoot all that well themselves, but coach Karl’s team couldn’t find their offensive rhythm. Andre Iguodala was the lone clutch player, and let’s hope he’s back next season.
But actually, why would Iguodala want to stay? The Nuggets are terrible in the postseason and Karl’s time may be up in Denver. He was out-coached by Mark Jackson despite talk of how the Nuggets were one of the deepest teams in the league. Denver’s lack of urgency and inability to close out quarters was their ultimate demise, leaving fans feeling toyed with once again.
Who knows, with Danilo Gallinari healthy the series, the Warriors might have ended a completely different way. With Gallinari, the Nuggets are more of an outside shooting threat and with him out of the lineup, the better team is going home rather than advancing. There’s no way the Warriors have a chance against the San Antonio Spurs, and I’m not sure I want to watch a series in which both teams are full of whiny floppers.
A list of factors contributed to another Nuggets’ early exit from the playoffs and it may be time for a change in Denver. Expectations were the highest they’ve been for a while, and the team had more than one opportunity to pull out a miracle, ultimately coming up short.
It was an exciting series, but Denver fans wish the excitement wasn’t over.