The signs leading up to this game weren't great. There was a massive snowstorm in Denver, the clock didn't start after tip, and the Nuggets got out on a quick 8-0 run to start. And throw in the most obvious omen ever, the Comcast broadcast going out with three minutes remaining in the game, and we should've seen Emmanuel Mudiay's wild, off-balance game winner (click here to view for those who like to punish themselves) coming from miles and miles away. Somehow we didn't and neither did the Sixers as the Nuggets come away with the 104-103 win on JaKarr Sampson Revenge Night.
Despite a horrific second quarter and trailing in the free throw margin by close to thirty, the Sixers found themselves up a point with three and a half seconds left and possession. After a quick foul to, playing in his first game in two weeks, Robert Covington. Bob only hit one of two free throws, putting the blue shirts up two.
And right on cue, the Nuggets inbound the ball to Mudiay who loses his dribble, bobbles the ball, and is forced to take a herky-jerky heave from just in front of half court, which of course goes in because just the act of watching a mid-March Sixers/Nuggets game isn't punishment enough.
Some notes from the game:
- Hey look, it's JaKarr Sampson! It was great to see our favorite JaKarr again, and he made himself seen very early with a monstrous slam for the Nuggets second bucket of the game. If the Sixers were going to drop a game in that fashion, it at least could've been poetic and had JaKarr hit the game winner.
- TJ McConnell played quite possibly the best game of his young career. Coming off the bench, McConnell jump started the Sixers to their 35 point, best scoring quarter of the season. McConnell tied his career high with 17 points but also contributed 5 assists and pretty good defense, especially on what should have been the Nuggets' last possession. TJ continues to play himself into a roster spot next season.
- With Nerlens Noel sidelined because of a right knee contusion, Carl Landry embraced the starting center role and took advantage of the opportunity, especially in the closing minutes (I'm told - I couldn't see it nor could anyone else in the greater Philadelphia area).
- In his first game back since the dreaded concussion protocol, Robert Covington didn't look too bad. In his first three minutes alone he finished two at the rim and one beyond the arc with a steal thrown in for good measure. He was one rebound shy of a double-double and a free throw shy of the game going to overtime.
- I will forever call Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic by the other's name. There's no hope for me.