Nuggets pull to 3-0 in one-point game

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Emma Carroll writes, The plot is classic: big game and a little margin to win.

The plot is classic: big game and a little margin to win. A basket will win it, but the clock is ticking down to the final seconds. Off goes the buzzer, just as the player sends the basketball swooping through the air (often showed in slow motion) and in to the hoop. The crowd goes wild, balloons stream from the ceiling, the player is hoisted on to their teammate’s shoulders, and the credits roll.Unfortunately, real life is not like this. But for the Nuggets, the third game of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks was close enough. With one second left to play, Carmelo Anthony launched himself in to the air and sent the ball towards the basket for a three-pointer. He, along with the entire city of Denver, would not be disappointed. That single shot, that one three-pointer would give the Nuggets a 106-105 victory.”Biggest shot of my life,” Anthony commented. “I don’t get nervous; those are the moments that I live for. Crunch time, we need a bucket, and I was going to make a play.”Two hours after the game, the NBA released a statement saying that the play should not have happened due to the fact that Maverick’s Antoine Wright should have been called for a foul before the shot. With around three seconds left, Wright tried to foul Anthony before stepping back and waiting for the call. Anthony kept playing and took the historic shot. During the play, Anthony briefly fumbled the ball and scooped it back up, then Wright hit him.”Carmelo fumbled the ball and I hit him,” Wright said.Denver coach George Karl claimed to have not seen a foul committed.The Nuggets had a total of 34 fouls called on them, 15 of them in the third quarter.All fouls aside, the game was a nitty-gritty, pedal-to-the-metal, bring-your-best-or-go-home event. The lead changed nine times, the score was tied eleven times, and neither team exceeded a bigger lead than six. In the first quarter, Anthony hit all six of his three-pointers. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 points in the second quarter, which ended at a score of 48-45 Nuggets. The Mav’s missed all of their three-point attempts in the third quarter but still managed to take a one point lead at 80-79. The fourth quarter was marked by the drama in its closing minutes, beginning with the Dallas’ Jason Terry’s 0:31.1 three-pointer to pull the Mavs up 105-101. Anthony followed with a dunk at 0:28.5 to pull the Nuggets within two. With 7.9 seconds left, Nowitzki missed a jumper by the free-throw line. Denver guard Chauncey Billups rebounded the shot. At 1.0, Anthony hit the three-pointer to give the Nuggets the lead, and the win. Nowitzki then attempted a 30-foot shot that fell short.It was the first time that the Nuggets won by fewer than ten points. It was a game of big plays, tight defense, and a seesawed lead. Neither team would give up big leads, neither would let the other go to far ahead. Both teams fought for points, possessions, and the win.”This is what playoff basketball is all about,” veteran guard Billups said. “So many different emotional swings in the game and in the fourth quarter. It coming down to the last minute-and-a-half, two minutes, 30 seconds…This is what it’s really all about, playing games like this and winning ugly games like this. I think our team really learned a lot, really grew up today.”This victory marks the practically inevitable series loss for Dallas. With the Nuggets up 3-0 in the series, the Mavs must win the next four games in a row in order to go to the Western Conference finals. No NBA team in history has ever overcome the 3-0 hole.Though some Mavericks were furious over the defeat, Jason Kidd admitted that the foul, or lack thereof, did not determine the fate of the game. “Nothing was taken from us. You win the game or you lose it. The history of the game says that games are won or lost by the players, and officials tend not to make calls at the end… the game didn’t come down to the last seconds.”But in a way it did. Anthony’s shot deserves a place in Nuggets’ history. Even though balloons didn’t pour out of the rafters, and even though Melo wasn’t lifted on to the shoulders of his teammates, the Nuggets can enjoy their Hollywood worthy finish.Source: The Denver Post