With the Denver Nuggets going through a rough patch in the season, losing their last four games, I figured it was time to take a fond look back at one of the most memorable games in our history against the New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets. So when the Nuggets travel to the Big Easy and take on the Pelicans on Friday night, the memory of the largest postseason victory in franchise and league history will come along for the ride.
In 2009, the Nuggets started their most successful playoff run in the past two decades by facing off against the then New Orleans Hornets in the first round of the playoffs.
In Game 1 of that best-of-seven series the Nuggets set the tone with a 113-84 victory. The 29-point win was the third largest margin of victory in team history, but it failed in comparison to what the Nuggets were about to do for an encore. After a narrow loss in Game 3, Denver was about to make NBA history when the two teams stepped on the court for Game 4.
As they say, this one was over before it started. The Nuggets raced out to an 8-2 lead, increased it to a 27-8 advantage, and finished the first quarter up 36-15. Our old friend Chauncey Billups led the team out of the gates with nine quick points, while Nene and Carmelo Anthony added another eight a piece.
In the second quarter, the Hornets played hard and gave it their best effort, but the end result was a 25-24 standstill as the team was unable to make a dent in the Nugget lead. The score was 61-39 at the half. As it turns out, this was all the resistance the Hornets were willing to offer up for the night.
As bad as the first quarter was for the Hornets, the second half was a complete disaster. The Nuggets outscored the Hornets 27-11 in the third quarter, taking an 88-50 lead into the final quarter.
With almost a 40-point lead, nary a starter on either roster saw the court in the final period. The Nuggets reserves, however, finished out the annihilation of the Hornets with a 33-13 effort in the fourth. The final score was 121-63. The 58-point margin of victory is an NBA playoff record that may never be broken.
The Nuggets would reach the Western Conference Finals that year and give the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers all they wanted before losing in six games. It was the only time former coach George Karl made it out of the first round of the playoffs with the Nuggets.
So when you sit down to watch Nuggets take on the new-look Pelicans on Friday night, bring some optimism with you and remember the good times – they’ll be back again soon.
Topics: Denver Nuggets