The Loop

How?

The Denver Nuggets had a four-on-one fast break down two with five seconds left . . . and still lost

February 26, 2021

You have heard of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s one of sports’ oldest, most celebrated sports-isms. The very possibility of its occurrence is precisely what keeps glued to the couch down 17 late with one minute left. That maybe-just-maybe chance that this time is finally the time something spectacular happens. Lesser known, though far more frequent, however, is the time-honored tradition of hurling victory into the jaws of defeat. It happens each and every night in the wide world of sports, leaving fans stupefied and heartbroken, bereft of all reason to go on as the final score scrolls tauntingly across the screen. For Denver Nuggets fans, Thursday night was one such night. Viewer discretion is advised.

If you run the numbers, they are very, very bad. Five seconds left. Down two. Four-on-one. Zero points. One loss. That’s gotta be a tough one take for the Nugs faithful. Not to rub salt in the wound or anything, but just look at this. WE SAID LOOK AT IT!

Jamal Murray HAS to release this ball earlier. Facundo Campazzo HAS to know he has time to drive and put up a higher percentage shot. You HAVE to go for the tie here, not the win. Yet the Nuggets did none of those things, and in the end the decisive shot barely grazed the front of the iron. As the Inside the NBA crew pointed out after the game, all three off-the-ball Nuggets players pull up beyond the arc. Not a single one drives the basketball for a lay-up or to pull a defender off the perimeter. A true team effort across the board.

But hey, least Murray stepped up and took ownership of the mistake after the game. It doesn’t count for a W, but it counts for something.