2013 playoff meeting between Nuggets and Warriors sent franchises in different directions | Sports


Denver and Golden State met in the first round of the 2013 playoffs in a series that would ultimately throw the teams in different directions.

The Nuggets, who lost the series as the No. 2 seed, quickly fired their coach and entered an extended dry spell in the playoffs as they reworked their roster.

The talented Warriors, who bounced Denver back behind a young squad with most players making their playoff debuts, were NBA champions within two years and quickly added two more titles.

Denver’s backstory

Denver entered the 2012-13 season as a playoff mainstay. He had appeared in the playoffs each of the past nine seasons, but it wasn’t until a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2008-09 that he moved past the first round.

Long after the franchise days of Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson fueled much of the ongoing playoff run, this was a relatively young team augmented by recently acquired veterans Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller. .

With a 57-25 record in 2012-13, it was Denver’s best team since joining the NBA. Ty Lawson (16.7) and Danilo Gallinari (16.2) led the Nuggets in scoring, sophomore big man Kenneth Faried averaged 11.5 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds and they entered the playoffs with the second seed in the Western Conference.

The Golden State Backstory

The Warriors had been bad for so long. From 1994-95 to 2011-12, they had made the playoffs only once (going 42-40 in 2006-07) and won no more than 30 games on 10 occasions.

But one of those dismal seasons – the 2009-10 campaign in which they were 29-53 – earned them the No. 7 draft pick. They used it on Stephen Curry. Two years later, they took Klay Thompson with the No. 11 pick. The following year, they took Draymond Green in the second round.

A young nucleus was suddenly in place. In 2012-13, Curry averaged 22.9 points per game, led the league in 3-pointers for the first time, and the team went 47-35 and made the playoffs as the No. ° 7.

The series

Denver won Game 1 97-95 as Andre Miller scored 28 points off the bench, including the game-winning layup with 1.2 seconds left.

Then came the Golden State Warriors, as they would be known for the next decade. Curry scored 30 points in Game 2 with 13 assists and Klay Thompson knocked down 5 of 6 3s.

The Warriors took games 2-5 to build a 3-1 series lead. Denver won Game 5 at the Pepsi Center, and the Warriors won Game 6 after the Nuggets nearly erased an 18-point second-half deficit, shooting with two points in the final 10 seconds before falling 92- 88.

Curry averaged 24.3 points in the series, shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range and making 21 of 21 free throws. He also averaged 9.3 assists.

Next for the Nuggets

George Karl was named NBA Coach of the Year for the Nuggets for the 2012-13 season, but was fired at the start of the summer after the team’s ninth first-round outing in the space of 10 years .

The list was then gradually dismantled.

Iguodala, Kosta Koufas and Corey Brewer left this offseason. Over the next year and a half, Evan Fournier, JaVale McGee and Miller were gone. Lawson left after two more years. Of the team’s top contributors in 2012-13, only Farried was still there when 20-year-old center Nikola Jokic made his debut in the 2015-16 season and quickly became a cornerstone in the build-up of the team. the next round.

In the short term, the team took a serious dive. Brian Shaw, Karl’s replacement, didn’t last two seasons and four losing records followed that 57-win campaign.

It wasn’t until 2018-19, under coach Michael Malone (a Warriors assistant who landed his first head coaching job after the 2013 playoffs), that the Nuggets returned to the playoffs.

Next for the Warriors

The series win for the Nuggets would be Golden State’s only in two years, as they were rebounded in the first round the following season.

But then came five straight trips to the NBA Finals, along with three championships.

Curry won back-to-back MVP awards, Thompson was a two-time All-NBA Third Team selection, and Green became the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Kevin Durant then jumped on board and what was just starting to germinate against the Nuggets had turned into a super team.

Karl clearly hasn’t forgotten how this series has placed the franchises on such different paths.

“Going Nuggets in 6 vs Warriors,” he tweeted on Wednesday as a prediction, adding, “Revenge for ’13!”


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