Nuggets vs. Warriors is beautiful because it's flawed

Ezra Shaw

The best series of the first round is full of derp. But that's okay, because derp needs love, too.

There are few great sunsets without clouds, and I would posit that great NBA playoff series require some major gaffes in the same manner. Only relative to totally horrid Anthony Randolph goaltends can we appreciate important Andrew Bogut blocks. Only relative to Wilson Chandler basket interference calls can we appreciate Andre Iguodala's disgusting reverse alley-oop. Only relative to Jarrett Jack's unbelievable five-second violation can we appreciate Iguodala's lob to ... the other team, or Ty Lawson's dribble-drive to ... the camera row. Err, wait.

Yes, the closing moments of Nuggets vs. Warriors were more head-smacking than heady, but that's okay, because this is entertainment and that was entertaining. I can imagine it was a little gleeful throughout for Golden Staters and far less fulfilling for Denverites. But for all of us neutral parties, the game had it all.

In the end, Randolph and Andre Miller committed enough mistakes to kill the Nuggets' chances. Since a brilliant performance in Game 1, old-man Miller has been abysmal. His defense on Jack (and anyone else he marks) has been poor, he's tried to take over the game too many times instead of letting Lawson attack Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and his turnovers tend to be of the crushing sort. He shot just 2-13 on Friday, while Jack, his counterpart, poured in 23 on 16 shooting possessions.

Randolph is getting his first playoff action since the Warriors drafted him back in 2008, three teams ago. Randolph can block shots, rebound and clean up around the rim. But man, he can derp the night away. His goaltend was among the worst in recorded history -- seriously, find me a worse one -- as the ball was clearly on a downward trajectory and was going to miss both short and wide right. He goaltended an errant floater that would have gone out of bounds if he had only not been there. I mean, look at this thing.

Chandler was good in Game 3, hitting a couple of crucial shots and picking up enough boards to help prevent another total glass disaster for Denver. But when he grabbed the Nuggets' own rim on a fast break in which the ball was popping around the cylinder and almost certain to fall through ... and the Nuggets lose by two? Guh.

When the Warriors went up four with a half-minute left, I had seen enough to know that the game wasn't over. And sure enough, after a foul, Jack waited too long to call a timeout before running out of time on the inbounds clock. (As the ESPN broadcast team got jealous of all of the hilarious fun happening on the court, Jon Barry counted out the five-second violation on a replay. Small problem: the replay was in slow-motion. Thankfully, the crew realized this soon thereafter and ran a real-time replay. But still, counting off a five-second violation while Stephen Curry cuts off of a screen at Zydrunas Ilgauskas-speed was mighty entertaining.)

In the end, the only way the game could have been better is if Andre Iguodala hit his dangerously-close running mid-court shot at the buzzer to win the game. We may have seen civilizations crumble in extra time. Ah well, there's always Game 4.

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