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Ty Lawson hits the game-winner to beat the Thunder (VIDEO)

Mar 2, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

It all came down to this.

Game tied at 103, Nuggets ball, less than 10 seconds remaining. Ty Lawson gets isolation on the wing against Thabo Sefolosha, who is known as an above-average defender.

Sefolosha plays Lawson for the drive, which isn’t a bad idea considering Lawson’s rep as one of the speediest guards in the league. But with so little time remaining, it was a mistake.

Lawson was given too much space by his defender, and made his move with just a couple of seconds remaining on the clock, before draining the game-winner from just inside the three-point line to seal the win for the Nuggets.

Denver is a weird team to play, in that they kill you with speed and athleticism, but you never know who will be the one ultimately doing the damage offensively on any given night. In this one, only one of Denver’s five starters cracked double digits in scoring in a game where the Nuggets dropped 105 points — and Lawson wouldn’t have gotten to 11 without this final shot.

Instead, the scoring came via a career night off the bench from Wilson Chandler, who poured in 35 points to match a career-high he set back in 2010 while playing for the Knicks. Chandler has scored in double digits for Denver just 10 times all season, so one would guess that the Thunder might have been fairly surprised by this rather sudden outburst.

But this has been happening all season with the Nuggets. They have a deep team with guys who can produce, and while not everyone does it consistently, thus far, someone always seems to step up — whether for an entire game like in this one, or for short bursts that give the Nuggets a boost when they need it most.

The Thunder got a huge night out of Russell Westbrook, who finished with a game-high 38 points. Kevin Durant finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, but it took him 20 shots to get there.

Oklahoma City lost the battle of turnovers, points in the paint, and fast break points, yet still were tied with the game’s final seconds ticking away. And, it took Lawson — who was 4-13 from the field to that point — hitting one of the worst shots in basketball (the long two) over one of the Thunder’s premier perimeter defenders for OKC to leave with the loss.

Denver is not a great team, but they continue to get the most out of the talent assembled on its roster, most of which is uniquely suited to play within the team’s system. The insanely timely contributions will likely stop at some point, but until then, Nuggets fans can enjoy the ride, and enjoy pulling out exciting wins like this over one of the league’s top teams.

Great shot, Ty Lawson. But the Bernie Lean celebration? You’re better than that.

  1. broncobeta - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    “Denver is not a great team, but they continue to get the most out of the talent assembled on its roster, most of which is uniquely suited to play within the team’s system. The insanely timely contributions will likely stop at some point”

    Thanks for your idiotic commentary. Way to kick a team even after they have a great win. It sounds like every other moron out there who only sweats teams with Super Stars.

    Perhaps you should remember that the Nuggets had the most brutal opening schedule in the NBA, playing their first 17 of 23 on the road.

    “The Nuggets don’t have a closer, so they can’t succeed.” Well, Lawson and Gallo have been closing all of 2013.

    It’s not like the Nuggets lead the NBA in paint points.

    Also, Wilson Chandler had only scored in double digits 10 times this year because he spent the first half injured. But I know it would kill anyone at PBT to do a little research, let alone proofread their posts.

  2. broncobeta - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Also, the only reason why this game was close was because of the officiating.

    Everytime Durant or Westbrook got sneezed on the whistle got blown. Wilson Chandler got mobbed on his layup to put the Nuggs up to 103 and no whistle. This happened all night.

    I meant Durant didn’t collect one foul. How is that possible?

    • reesesteel23 - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:56 AM

      Well, I get what you mean, but Denver doesnt have a guy that can consistently get to the basket and draw fouls. Iggy was invisible all night (4pts, 0 free throw attempts). Russell Westbrook goes to the basket ruthlessly…so he’s going to get alot of calls……its simple really…

      • acanniv - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        Um, Denver leads the league in points in the paint…by 11 points per game. It was all Barry could talk about during last nights broadcast and the game against Portland on Wednesday. They’re 3rd in the league in free throw attempts at 26 which is 1 behind OKC at 27. Last night free throws: OKC 34, Den 17. Denver doesn’t have a “star,” OKC has 2. This happens every single time the Nuggets play a team with star(s) ie LAL, LAC, OKC, MIA, SA. It’s simple, really, the whistle blows for the stars.

      • nodindenver - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Did you even watch the game? Do you not understand leading the league in points in the paint? Free throws 34 to 17. Some comments are ignorant; others are just pitiful!

    • badintent - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:07 AM

      The Ref thought Durant was LBJ.

  3. abchome - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    It’s the Law son!

  4. 303bengalguy - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Tell me again why its bad not to have a go to guy for the last shot? I like the fact nobody knows what we are going to do personally.

    • biasedhomer - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      You will realize why in the playoffs, when the other teams main guy hits clutch shots every game.

      In a 1 game matchup, it is less noticeable.

  5. scalfor3 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Don’t be hatin on the bernie

  6. rockymountainraider - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Not a great team, timely contributions will likely stop. You sound like a hater to me, Nuggets have a winning record against all current western conference teams bound to make the playoffs. Puff on that Pollakoff.

  7. pistolpete0903 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    This Denver team is going to be a tough out for any of the top 3 contenders in the West. Imagine having to play (a very likely) 3 games at Mile High and then facing the Clippers/Thunder/Spurs.
    The Western conference champion would be battle tested by the time it comes out; but how much it has left in the tank is to be seen.

    • badintent - Mar 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      No one wants to face the Nuggets in the first round. Karl for Coach of the Year, he is gettting the most out of a roster of average players with an All Star Dawson. The thin air is murder on visiting teams too, they have to cut minutes for starters to get a blow for the fourth quarter. See ya in the Finals.
      PISTOL maravick was my favorite college player of all time

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 3, 2013 at 3:46 AM

        MaraVICH. The guys name is “Pistol” Pete Maravich. I’m kinda having a hard time believing you that he’s your fav college player when you don’t even know his name.

  8. jjviolin1 - Mar 2, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    agree. NBA officiating is absolutely terrible. Nuggets never get a break, even with the Lakers last Minday, the refs tried their best to get the Lakers in the game. whats impressive about this Nuggets team is not only are they beating these elite superstar teams but they also have to beat the refs, and they are doing it.

  9. broncobeta - Mar 4, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I find it hilarious that you censored for my first comment because I called out all the inaccuracies in the article.

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