Despite winning 23 of 26 games heading into the 2013 NBA playoffs, the Denver Nuggets became an intriguing upset in their series with the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors due to some major injuries that hit this team down the stretch. While Ty Lawson was able to return and battle through plantar fasciitis, smooth-shooting forward Danilo Gallinari‘s season went kaput following arthroscopic knee surgery.
At the time of injury, Gallinari was posting career-high per-game averages of 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds — and perhaps most pertinent to the Nuggets faltering in the first round against Golden State — he was leading the team with 135 3-pointers at the time of injury on April 4.
The Nuggets gave the obligatory “no excuses” quote to reporters, which is honorable, but you can tell just how much they recognize Gallinari’s critical role in the offense.
“We do miss him but we can’t be worried about that,” forward Kenneth Faried said, via The Associated Press. “We had to go out there and do what we had to do. Without him it is tough because he’s our leading scorer.”
Battling against the most prolific backcourt duo in NBA history when it comes to the 3-pointers, the Nuggets couldn’t stand a chance when they tried to trade trays with the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
It may have been center Andrew Bogut that proved a major “X” factor in the deciding Game 6 loss, but the chasm between the teams’ long-range shooting numbers is hard to overcome. While the Warriors shot over 50 percent from three in those momentous third quarters of this series, Golden State’s mark for the entirety sits at just 31 percent.