64166

Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute.

Merkel-2020-2021

Michael B. Hancock was Mayor Grumpypants.

Like many of you, Hancock is a die-hard hoops fan, and he was dying to see the Nuggets beat Portland in the NBA playoffs. But anywhere the mayor searched Thursday night for the broadcast of this series’ crucial Game 3, he couldn’t find it on televison in .

Sorry, Mr. Mayor. I’m truly sorry anyone had to miss the Nuggets’ remarkable 120-115 victory over Portland.

It was the most awesome game you never saw.

That’s a real bummer, because these beat-up Nuggets should by all rights be packing their bags for summer vacation. But some way, some how, Denver has rallied for two straight victories against the Blazers. And NBA history tells us the team that breaks the 1-1 tie in a best-of-seven series survives and advances 73 percent of the time.

During the fourth quarter, when the outcome was very much in doubt, about the time a 3-point basket by our old pal Carmelo Anthony knotted the game at 91-all, Hancock’s frustration boiled over with a ridiculously protracted, outrageously stupid dispute between Kroenke Sports and Comcast that keeps many Colorado fans in the dark when the Nuggets play on TV.

The mayor turned to the only place lonely, angry guys can go to vent late at night: social media.

“Searched everywhere fir (sic) the game! So unfair to fans and the players that we can’t watch the @nuggets in game 3 of round one of the @NBA playoffs!” Hancock declared on Twitter, screaming into the void with all the vehement anger two thumbs pounding a keyboard can muster. “Something has to give in this three year standoff. #Showthedamngame”

Hey, we feel you pain, Mr. Mayor. (Although, technically, it’s been two years, but who’s counting?)

Even though the Nuggets made a run to the Western Conference finals in 2020, they’re still not regarded as prime-time players by the execs who make programming decisions, and Denver is often relegated to late-night starts on the fringes of the league’s broadcast spectrum.

Where on your TV dial can you find the Nuggets, if you can find them at all?

“The Oxygen Network,” coach Michael Malone said.

And Malone was only half kidding.

While LeBron and the Lakers were featured this fine May evening on the network of Sir Charles, Kenny and the cool TNT dudes, Denver and Portland were pawned off on NBA TV, which has so little clout it lacks the power to supersede the ugly tiff that has blacked out so many Nuggets games to a majority of Denver television viewers for far too long.

I’m done playing the blame game, because my tsk-tsk-tsker for Comcast and Altitude is broken from chronic overuse.

But let me get this straight: I could sit down Wednesday night in my family room and watch Washington play on the road at Philadelphia on NBA TV. But a little more than 24 hours later, I had to go pirate a stream of the Nuggets playing on the road at Portland, because a dispute that sounds like a billionaire whining about life being unfair prevented me from watching the Nuggets and Blazers on NBA TV in my home?

I’m sure there’s some good explanation for all that. But I really don’t care to hear the details of the blackout rules. All I know is the situation is stupid and insulting to loyal Nuggets followers.

“Hopefully, this is the only Nuggets game placed on NBA TV for the remainder of the series,” pleaded Cyrus Smith, a Denver sports fan caught in the middle of a mess that’s none of our doing. It’s “absolutely ridiculous that a majority of the people in the city couldn’t watch.”

Portland came out blazing with passion in Game 3. When guard Damian Lillard slammed home a basket with 6 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter, building the lead to 20-12, the Nuggets were in danger of getting swept away by a tidal wave of playoff emotion.

“We were not ready to play,” Malone said. “They came out and punched us in the mouth.”

But quit? These Nuggets don’t quit. They could’ve surrendered when star guard Jamal Murray was lost to an ACL tear last month. Surrender isn’t in this team’s DNA.

“Fighting is something that we develop as a Nuggets organization,” said center Nikola Jokic, who scored 37 points.

“We are not going to yell, we’re not going to scream. But we are going to fight. We are going to get on your nerves.”

What allowed the Nuggets to prevail against one of the league’s most potent offensive teams was lights-out shooting from beyond the arc. Denver made 20-of-38 attempts from 3-point range. Guard Austin Rivers, who was unemployed for nearly two months this season before being picked up off the street by Denver, hit four big shots from 3-point range during a decisive 20-12 run late in the fourth quarter.

“We’re like the Statue of Liberty,” said Malone, proud of a mashed-up lineup of spare parts he and Jokic have embraced. “We’ll take anybody.”

I’ve covered the Nuggets since 1984, and this was one of the more impressive victories I’ve ever witnessed.

Sorry you missed it, Mr. Mayor.

Could somebody maybe give Hancock a call and recount all the glorious details?

“Mayor Hancock and I have a great relationship; we get along,” said Malone, volunteering for duty. “I’ll definitely reach out to him and give (the mayor) a recap.”

dp news breaking?d=yIl2AUoC8zA - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute. dp news breaking?d=dnMXMwOfBR0 - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute. dp news breaking?d=7Q72WNTAKBA - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute. dp news breaking?i=h jQADcsR Y:WcxXc7UKB4M:V sGLiPBpWU - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute. dp news breaking?d=qj6IDK7rITs - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute.

h jQADcsR Y - Kiszla: Nuggets’ victory at Portland might be greatest NBA playoff game you never saw, thanks to stupid TV dispute.

Latest Post