The Denver Nuggets have done the impossible. Coming from 3-1 deficits to win in 7 games, not once, but twice. Here’s how the momentum will continue all the way through the NBA Finals.
The Denver Nuggets were down 3-1 against Utah and the world wrote them off, just to see them storm back and break the stigma that no team can win 3 elimination games in a row. Then they faced the same tune down 3-1 to the Clippers, only to do it again! Something that has never happened in the 74-year history of the NBA. And they did it with a swagger unmatched in that same time-span. This team is looking as if they are this year’s version of that pesky group of “try-hards” that just don’t know how to quit. In the ilk of “The Idiots” of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, or the 2019 Washington Nationals that always seemed to find a way to win when their backs were against the wall and facing the end of their season.
If you want more similarities between the Nuggets and those teams above is this team has a legitimate All-Timer in Jokic(Scherzer ’19 Nats, Ortiz ’04 Red Sox), future stars in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.(Soto ’19 Nats, Youkilis ’04 Red Sox), and savvy vets like Paul Milsap(Kendrick ’19 Nats, Schilling ’04 Red Sox).
The other common denominator is that each one of these teams was counted out in every series on their way to the championship. By myself included, except for these Nuggets.
Now, I can already hear the “homer” groans growing. But this is in no way just simple hometown bias, nor band-wagoning. You can check my receipts here. There has not been a moment that I have not believed in this team’s ability to win it all. It has been a crazy ride with some serious anxiety-inducing moments. But that just adds spice to the flavor of this goulash of a 2020 NBA Playoffs Cinderalla story.
You have gotten everything from Murray dropping 90+ points and no turnovers in two games. To Murray and Jokic combining for less than 90 points and 30+ turnovers in two games. You have seen the Nuggets win by 20 and lose by 30. But one thing you have not seen is a single ounce of quit in this squad when it mattered most. Just look at this highlight reel of their 6-0 elimination game run:
If that doesn’t get you to believe in this team, maybe this will. Another thing you cannot deny, this team loves to play together. Team chemistry is an undervalued ingredient to a championship contender. There is no doubt how this team feels about one another. Just watch this postgame interview after the latest Game 7 win:
And the books are reflecting this optimism as the Denver Nuggets odds to win the whole thing has dropped from +2800 pre-season by more than half to currently “only” +1000 on FOXBet:
And that first screenshot is of my own bet slip that I took on them before the re-start. So again, no band-wagon analysis here. I have rode with this team from the start. But not just because they are the home team, because this team has legitimate talent. Think about the fact a 7-foot future Point-God has played nothing but garbage minutes while rotting on the bench watching his team pull the rabbit out of the hat time and time again. And this is a team primed not only to win it this year, but for many to come. With the Clippers eliminated, this is the deepest roster left in the playoffs, period.
The only team I had any trepidations of being able to eliminate the Nuggets was that vaunted Clippers roster. It was the only one in the league that could match the depth this Nuggets team brings to the floor each and every night. This is exactly why I see them getting by this Lakers squad, they will simply wear out the aging legs of the many past-their-prime ring-chasers that litter the Laker Bench and starting lineup.
Even though the books still favor the L.A. Lakers fairly heavily, that just means we get to make even more money on the way to the Finals. Currently, the Denver Nuggets are +450 ‘Dogs to win the series against L.A. on FOXBet:
The newfound defense of this Denver Nuggets squad is going to be the reason they are able to rise above the 2nd L.A. squad to stand in their way. The same ones this very publication questioned could be beaten before things kicked off in August. And also has multiple pundits that have been touting this Denver squad since day one as you can see in that same article.
This will also be why I will be hammering any Under with a line north of 220 and the Under for anything south of 215 during the L.A. series as both squads have shown the ability to frustrate any offense when they apply effort on the defensive end. But also have moments of scoring at will. So for example, I will be taking the Over in Game 1 from FanDuel:
And I believe it will end in 6 games, so I took this line from FanDuel:
As I said before, the youth and depth of this Denver Nuggets roster is going to be too much for the aching knees and joints of the L.A. Lakers key contributors. The size and power advantage L.A. rode to an easy series win over the Rockets is gone. Denver has the bodies and strength to bang with and frustrate Anthony Davis who has a tendency to break when you apply enough pressure.
This Nuggets team has also already been there and done that, together. While L.A. has plenty of individual experience, this is their first post-season battle as currently constructed. They truly have no idea how each other is going to react when they get punched in the mouth by a team on their talent level. They have yet to be tested in these playoffs only losing 2 games in 2 series. This Nuggets team has no doubt how their teammates will respond. That confidence alone is enough to give the Nuggets the edge.
With the Nuggets getting to the finals, I see a match-up of young upstarts taking the world by storm with a Denver Nuggets-Miami Heat final matchup. But as it has been for so long, the West is Best and the Nuggets win in 5.