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The Nuggets Loss Was Painful – But I’ve Seen Worse

Calling it a difficult sports weekend for Colorado fans may be a bit of an understatement.

It was bad enough that the Colorado Avalanche were knocked out of the NHL Playoffs on Friday by the Dallas Stars when former Avs Matt Duchene scored the game-winner in double overtime.

But when the Denver Nuggets squandered a 20-point lead, in game seven, at home, just two days later – I was sick.

The Nuggets were up 53-38 at halftime, stretched the lead to as many as 20, Nikola Jokic had 34 points and 17 rebounds, Jamal Murray added 35 points, and yet, the Minnesota Timberwolves ended their NBA season – and any thought of a dynasty.

The Nuggets were the defending NBA Champions, they had won 57 games, they knocked off the Lakers, and they had the league MVP. How could they lose game seven? At home? With a 20-point lead?

This could only be described as the most painful loss in the history of Denver Nuggets basketball.

But is it the most painful in Colorado sports history? Not even close.

Credit via Baltimore Beatdown

1) The most painful moment in Colorado sports history must be the Mile High Miracle that occurred on January 13, 2013. A bitter cold 13 degrees, and I was there in the South Stands freezing, and cheering, with the others. It was the final minutes of the NFL 2012 Divisional Playoff Game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. Denver had gone 13-3 that season, Peyton Manning was sensational, and the Broncos were up 35-28 with only 44 seconds left on the clock. Baltimore was at their own 30-yard line with a third down and short when Joe Flacco went deep to Jacoby Jones. Denver’s Rahim Moore would misplay the ball terribly, allowing Jones to waltz into the endzone, untouched.

The teams would go scoreless in the first overtime, but Justin Tucker would twist the knife with a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime to finish the kill.

Credit via Yahoo

2) Super Bowl XLVIII, February 4, 2015. Seattle Seahawks 43 – Denver Broncos 8. Every house in Colorado was hosting a Super Bowl party that night as the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning hit the field. Most of us had barely swallowed our first bite of Nacho cheese dip when Manny Ramirez snapped the ball completely over the head of Peyton Manning, into the endzone, leading to a Seattle safety and two points. And that was the very first play of the game.

Haven’t been able to eat Nacho cheese dip since.

3) Super Bowl XXIV, January 28, 1990. San Francisco 49ers 55 – Denver Broncos 10.

4) Super Bowl XXII, January 31, 1988. Washington Redskins 42 – Denver Broncos 10.

5) Super Bowl XII, January 15, 1978. Dallas Cowboys 27 – Denver Broncos 10.

6) Super Bowl XXI, January 25, 1987. New York Giants 39 – Denver Broncos 20.

Credit via Reddit

7) Detroit Red Wings 6 – Colorado Avalanche 5, March 26, 1997. The already-heated rivalry intensified the previous season during the NHL Playoffs. Colorado’s Claude Lemieux would knock out Kris Draper, and the Red Wings chances, after a vicious hit during the 1996 Western Conference Finals. Draper would end up in the hospital with a broken jaw, shattered cheek and orbital bone, ending up with multiple stiches and a wired jaw.

The following season, Detroit and their enforcer, Darren McCarty, would get their revenge in a game referred to as, Bloody Wednesday. McCarty sucker-punched Lemieux from behind leaving the Avalanche player curled up on the ice to defend himself from further abuse. Detroit Nation would later refer to Lemieux as “The Turtle”.

In a game in which goalies fought goalies, stars fought stars, and blood soaked the ice, McCarty would finish off his revenge tour by scoring the game-winning goal during overtime.

Probably didn’t hurt as much as Draper’s jaw, but that loss still stung.

Credit via MLB.COM

8) Boston Red Sox 13 – Colorado Rockies 1, first game of the 2007 World Series. It was a dream season that starred Matt Holiday, Todd Helton, and Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies had miraculously won 14 of their last 15 games just to make the playoffs, swept through Philadelphia and Arizona, and it looked as if their magic would never end.

Starting pitcher, Jeff Francis, struggled, but made it through four innings. Franklin Morales wouldn’t be so fortunate. Six hits, seven runs, and two balks later, Morales would be gone after just 2/3rds of an inning, and the Rockies would give up 17 hits in their World Series debut.

Boston would go on to sweep the Rockies, 4-0. And so hurt were the Rockies faithful that they decided to disregard the action on the field, drink beer, and never care about baseball again.

9) Last Sunday’s Nuggets game. Minnesota Timberwolves 98 – Denver Nuggets 90. Squandered a 20-point lead, in game seven, at home.

I guess there are a few positives about Sunday’s Nuggets heartbreak. Denver did win the NBA Championship last season, which helps cushion the blow. The team is young, under contract, and destine to make another run next season, and ….

…that 45-point loss to the Timberwolves in game 6 – is barely painful enough to crack the top ten.

Images via Instagram, baltimorebeatdown, reddit, yahoo, mlb.com

Alan Tapley The Athletic Supporter

Alan Tapley is an educator, author, and blogger who has lived just outside of Boulder for the last twenty years.  His published work includes two novels, two children’s books, a series of cartoons in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and multiple sports related articles. His love for family and the state of Colorado is only matched by one thing, his passion for sports.  The first baseball game he ever attended was at Wrigley Field, before there were lights.  At the final Bronco game at the old Mile High, he allegedly cut out a piece of his seat in the South stands.  But regardless of being here for the Avalanche’s last Stanley Cup, the Rockies only World Series appearance, and all the Broncos’ Super Bowl Victories, his wife never fails to remind him that he wasn’t at the University of Colorado in 1990, like she was.  The year the Buffs football team won the National Championship

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