A brief history of the Denver Nuggets in NBA playoff game 7s

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

With Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals looming on Sunday between the Timberwolves and Nuggets, it’s a good time to reflect on history. Nuggets fans are stressing out, trying to avoid anxiety attacks, and counting down the minutes until they get some resolution and hopefully see the team advance to a second straight West Finals.

This will be the eighth do-or-die Game 7 in the Denver Nuggets NBA playoff history. The Nuggets are 4-3 in these games over the course of their franchise history. They are looking to avoid falling to 4-4, a .500 winning percentage in such games.

The first Game 7 in Nuggets history

The first Game 7 in team history came just after they joined the NBA from the ABA in 1978. The team became the first team that came over from the ABA to win an NBA playoff series as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 116-110 in Game 7 of their conference semifinal series.

The Nuggets didn’t play in another Game 7 for almost two decades before they faced the Utah Jazz in the 1994 playoffs, losing to the Jazz 91-81 in the decisive game on the road.

Nuggets and Game 7s in this century

It was another drought before the Nuggets played in another Game 7, this time in 2012 on the road against the Lakers. The Nuggets fell in that game 96-87.

Nuggets' Game 7s in the Jokic era

The four most latest Game 7s have all come in recent years as the Nuggets played in two of them in 2019 and two more in 2020. Denver defeated the Spurs at home in round one of the 2019 playoffs 90-86 but lost in round two in game 7 to the Blazers at home 100-96.

The next season, the playoffs were played in the bubble so there were no true home or road games, but Denver was able to erase back-to-back 3-1 deficits in rounds one and two, coming back to win a Game 7 over the Jazz 80-78, then in the next round against the Clippers 104-89.

That was the last time the Nuggets played in a Game 7 until this Sunday. The team is 2-1 in Game 7s played in Denver. Nikola Jokic is 3-1 in career Game 7s, and hoping to make it 4-1 on Sunday night.