Maybe the Nuggets’ excuse making is rubbing off.
The Thunder has had more fingers pointed at it than a troupe of clowns on an elementary school playground. These guys have been called cocky, then hotheads, then a bunch of jump shooters, which implies they're soft.
Don’t forget frauds.
Those aren’t exactly words that anyone has ever associated with this team.
I have no idea if the word “complainers” has ever been used to describe the Nuggets, but that’s what they are.
The latest round of whining came courtesy of the final play in Game 3. J.R. Smith hoisted a 3-pointer that could've tied the score and sent the game into overtime, but James Harden stood his ground and was straight up.
No whistle. No basket. All whine.
“I thought it would have had a better chance of going in if I didn't get fouled,” Smith said then. “Unfortunately, they didn't call it, and the game is over.”
Asked about the sequence, Karl said: “I’m not allowed to give you my honest opinion. You pay the fine (to the NBA for criticizing officials); I’ll give you my honest opinion. Five dollars won’t get it done.”
But now we’ve got these guys for at least one more game. Hey, give the Nuggets credit. They gave a heck of an effort. They played better than the Thunder when their backs were against the wall.
The Thunder just didn’t play well enough to close out this series when it had every opportunity to do so.
They didn’t shoot well enough. They didn’t defend well enough. They didn’t do the little things to win this game.
Down two with less than a minute to go, Russell Westbrook had a chance to swing a pass right back to Kevin Durant, who had a superhot hand. Instead, the Thunder point guard held onto the ball, ended up shooting a contested three and missed.
Give that ball back to Durant, and he might’ve had an in-rhythm look that could’ve broken the Nuggets’ back.
See, Denver, that’s how you explain a loss without excuses.
I love Denver, a vibrant city with a fantastic downtown and outstanding restaurants. I love Colorado, a picturesque place with majestic mountains and stately scenery. I would visit here at every opportunity.
But the sooner the Thunder can be done with this place’s NBA team and its irritating excuses, the better.
At least after this Nuggets’ win, we won’t have to put up with any whining.