I put it right in the title, “dare to dream”. Let’s dream for a moment that the Denver Nuggets stayed healthy last season and made the playoffs. Let’s dream that in a final four matchup against either San Antonio or OKC that our Denver Nuggets found a way to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. Denver and Miami played against each other twice during the regular season with the road team winning both games. Could a healthy 2013-14 Denver Nugget roster defeat the Miami Heat in a seven game NBA Finals series?
The first meeting of the regular season between the two teams was on LeBron James’ birthday, December 30th in Denver. The Denver Nuggets were in the midst of a seven game losing streak. The Nuggets starting lineup was Ty Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried and JJ Hickson. LeBron James would record a double-double in leading the Miami Heat to a 97-94 win over our Denver Nuggets. Ty Lawson and LeBron James would put up eerily similar numbers in the game.
Ty Lawson 8-15 from the field, 5-8 from beyond the arc, 5-6 from the free throw line plus 7 assists.
LeBron James 8-15 from the field, 5-9 from beyond the arc, 5-8 from the free throw line plus 10 assists.
Ty Lawson would miss a last second shot that would go out of bounds. JJ Hickson would not be able to inbound the ball within five seconds taking the foul and committing the game ending turnover. Miami played the second half without Dwyane Wade.
The second meeting of the season was on March 14th in Miami, a 111-107 Denver win. 3:06 into the 2nd quarter Miami was leading 38-24. Going into half time, our Nuggets were leading 58-53. The starters for Denver were Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried and Timmy Mozgov but check out who fueled the 34-15 run to close out the 2nd quarter:
Evan Fournier 10 pts
Aaron Brooks 9 pts
Quincy Miller and Darrel Arthur 5 pts each
After trailing by 14, our Nuggets found themselves up by 14 going into the final quarter. Then with 1:05 remaining the Nuggets found themselves up by only 3. During that last 1:05 Kenneth Faried would go 4 of 4 from the free throw line to seal the victory.
I want to harp on the fact that the two games were very closely contested meetings, but I understand the motivation for the Nuggets to play the Heat is greater than motivation the Heat have to play the Nuggets. If a healthy Denver squad were to meet Miami in the NBA Finals, would the Nuggets find a way to beat an equally motivated Heat squad? Dare to dream!