After suffering a 120-103 loss to the Spurs in Game 6 on Thursday night, the Nuggets will be forced to venture into fairly unfamiliar territory. When they return to Denver, they’ll be heading into just the fourth Game 7 in franchise history.
The last two attempts to win a decisive game didn’t go well. Seven years ago, Denver forced a Game 7 against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in a first round match-up, only to fall 96-87 in Los Angeles. And in 1994, the Nuggets followed up their upset of the SuperSonics in round one by taking Karl Malone, John Stockton and the heavily favored Jazz to the brink, but ultimately lost 91-81 in Utah.
However, success with everything on the line has not always eluded Denver. It’s just been a long, long time since they tasted victory in the ultimate pressure cooker.
In fact, it’s been nearly 41 years since the Nuggets were victorious in a Game 7. On May 3, 1978, on their home floor at McNichols Sports Arena, they held off the Milwaukee Bucks by a 116-110 count to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
How long ago was that game? Alex English played and scored 14 points coming off the bench… for the Bucks. He’d be traded to the Pacers after the season, nearly two years before the future Hall of Fame forward would be dealt to Denver.
But fact that the game was played in an arena that’s been gone for 20 years, or that one of the greatest players in Nuggets history hadn’t even joined the team yet, aren’t the only things that make that day in 1978 seem like ages ago. In fact, the world was a very different place in a number of ways.
Here are just a few examples of life on May 3, 1978:
» Gallon of Gasoline = $0.63
» Average Home Cost = $57,000
» U.S. Population = 225,449,657 (currently 328,676,068)
» Dow Jones Average = 805 (currently 26,543)
» Garfield comic strip had not yet debuted (first published in June 1978)
» The Susan B. Anthony dollar had not yet been minted (December 1978)
» The year’s biggest movies – “Grease” (June 16), “Animal House” (July 28), “Superman” (December 15) and “Every Which Way But Loose” (December 20) – hadn’t hit theaters yet
» “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees was the No. 1 song on the Billboard charts
» “Laverne & Shirley” was the top-rated show on television
» Pete Rose had less than 3,000 hits (he’d reach that plateau on May 5)
» Kobe Bryant (August 23) hadn’t been born yet
» The were only 22 teams in the NBA, with the Jazz still in New Orleans, the Kings in Kansas City, the Nets in New Jersey and the Clippers were in Buffalo as the Braves before moving to San Diego
» The Colorado Rockies finished with a 19-40-21 record to finish second in the NHL’s Smythe Division (they’d move to New Jersey four years later)
» The 1978 NFL Draft had just concluded, with future Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell going first overall to the Houston Oilers
For the Nuggets magical 2018-19 season to continue, they’ll have to do something they haven’t done in a long time, since the world was a totally different place… they have to win a Game 7.
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