Massai Ujri’s blockbuster trade sending NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony and former Finals MVP Chauncey Billups to the New York Knicks suddenly cast second-year point guard Ty Lawson as the leader of an inexperienced, yet deep Denver Nuggets team.
The Nuggets continued to defy odds after shipping arguably its best two players, going 16-6 in games following the trade, up until a home game against the Michael Beasley led Minnesota Timberwolves. However, it was a team full of banged up bodies- Aaron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler were both out of the line-up.
After the first quarter and a half of said game each team traded baskets, and it seemed like an instant classic. Although it eventually would be, not for the reasons any of the spectators thought.
The ‘Wolves held Lawson scoreless for the first 18 minutes of the game until he put home two free throws. He finished the first half with 14 points, including a perfect 3-3 from the 3-point line. That was just the beginning. Lawson came out of the locker room in the second half and knocked down three more triples in the first three minutes of the third quarter. By this time, “Ty-Law” had 23 points in the last nine minutes of game action and a look on his face that read, “feed me more”.
After his sixth 3-pointer, Nuggets play-by play announcer Chris Marlowe, screamed, “Ty-rrefic with the Ty-fecta.” In addition, to an impersonation that would make the voice of the NBA Jam video game empire proud, “Lawson is officially on fiyah”!
By now, the game that was once 43-42 Denver was a comedy show and Lawson’s stroke from deep was the headliner. With 4:35 remaining in the third quarter, Lawson pulled up scored from three again- now 7-7 from behind the arc.
After his eighth consecutive 3-pointer, Lawson pushed the Nuggets lead to 30. Now the only thing for Lawson to do was break the record for most consecutive 3-pointers without a miss. With 32 seconds left in third, Lawson passed former Knick and Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell and former Chicago Bull Ben Gordon’s record by going a perfect 10-10 from behind the arc.
Lawson would miss a running 28-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer ending his streak of consecutive made 3-pointers. Lawson, who was held without a single point for the first 18 minutes of game action, went on to score a career high 37 points, played in just 31 minutes, as the Nuggets throttled the ‘Wolves 130-106.
Even without Anthony and Billups, the Nuggs won 50 games that season, but ran into a buzz saw against a young and experienced Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City Thunder team that ousted it in five quick playoff games.