You never know if you are ready for the moment until it actually occurs. But what the Nuggets encountered Sunday night, a triple overtime thriller against the Celtics, was about as close as it gets.
Denver is prepared to compete for a championship. George Karl agrees, even though they lost, this time.
“Very few times when you lose do you think it's probably a good thing, and I thought we played as well as we can play with the circumstances [playing on back to back nights and arriving in Boston early Sunday morning],” said the head coach. “We played with a lot of heart, a lot of guts. We took a lot of punches and fought back every time."
In every, single crucial moment of the game the Nuggets found a way to make a play.
With 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation, Ty Lawson received the inbounds pass and made an off-balanced floater to tie the game and send it into overtime. In the second overtime period, both Danilo Gallinari and Lawson hit clutch shots inside the final forty seconds to give Denver the lead. All Boston could do was match them, and that’s exactly what they did to force triple overtime. Then Gallinari made an absurd shot to even the mark, only before the Celtics came out on top.
Denver fell 118-114, yet the scoreboard was the only one to disapprove.
"I'm just sad we didn't win the game, because I thought it would be a great win for us," Karl said. "I'm sure we'll learn from it. It was a pretty good basketball game."
Resiliency is a trait of champions, as much or even more than raw talent. Denver proved they could do what it takes. In the biggest of moment, the direst situations, the Nuggets are all set.