Denver Nuggets reach first NBA Finals in franchise history
from Eric Smithling, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
Denver waited a long time for an NBA Finals appearance. When given an opportunity to clinch a spot on Monday, the Nuggets ran with it, closing the Lakers out in a sweep with a 113-111 win.
OptaStats illustrated how painful the wait’s been for the Nuggets’ faithful. Their 28 playoff appearances prior to this one without a title game appearance were the most in any of North America’s “Big Four” sports leagues
Entering this year, the Nuggets had made the playoffs 28 times since joining the NBA and had failed to reach the NBA Finals in all 28.
That was the most consecutive playoff appearances without reaching the championship round by any MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL franchise to begin its history.
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) May 23, 2023
ESPN’s Sportscenter also noted that this was Denver’s first sweep in 45 playoff series.
While this marks a seminal moment in Nuggets franchise history, it isn’t their first appearance in a title game.
Denver appeared in the last ABA Finals during the 1975-76 season under head coach Larry Brown, losing to the New York Nets 4-2 in the finals. The ABA-NBA merger occurred ahead of the 1976 season and 47 years later, Denver is back on the championship stage.
As Brad Townsend noted, that means all four ABA franchises that joined in the merger have reached the NBA Finals.
Please raise a toast to the dear old ABA. It's taken 47 years, but all 4 of the franchises that joined the NBA in the 1976 merger have reached at least one NBA Finals: San Antonio, New Jersey/Brooklyn, Indiana and now Denver.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) May 23, 2023
**********But still, I would take the old 1975-1976 ABA Denver Nuggets, over the 2022-2023 Denver Nuggets, any day of the week, and twice on Sunday….Give me David Thompson, Bobby Jones, Dan Issel, Marvin “The Human Eraser” Webster, Monte Towe, George Irvine, Gus Gerard, Byron Beck, Ralph Simpson, and on we can go…Dan Issel is arguably the toughest basketball player to ever play in the NBA, or the ABA…Issel used to have to take his two front teeth out before every game, because he got them knocked out in a basketball game fight back in college, while at Kentucky….This ’75-’76 Nuggets team had the young David Thompson, and he could jump to the moon…Bobby Jones was the best defensive basketball player to ever play game, in either league…And what more can you say about “The Human Eraser”, Marvin Webster…His name says it all…Give me the 1975-1976 Denver Nuggets and their head coach Larry Brown, and we will take over each and every town, in the current National Basketball Association…..**********
1975-1976 Denver Nuggets Roster
No. Player Pos Ht Wt Birth Date College 40 Byron Beck PF 6-9 225 January 25, 1945 Columbia Basin College, Denver 10 Jim Bradley PF 6-8 215 March 16, 1952 Northern Illinois 20 Roger Brown C 6-11 225 February 23, 1950 Kansas 15 Jimmy Foster PG 6-1 175 December 16, 1951 UConn 22 Gus Gerard SF 6-8 200 July 27, 1953 Virginia 30 George Irvine SF 6-6 200 February 1, 1948 Washington 25 Dan Issel C 6-9 235 October 25, 1948 Kentucky 24 Bobby Jones PF 6-9 210 December 18, 1951 UNC 44 Ralph Simpson SG 6-5 200 August 10, 1949 Michigan State 21 Claude Terry SG 6-4 195 January 12, 1950 Stanford 33 David Thompson SF 6-4 195 July 13, 1954 NC State 13 Monte Towe PG 5-7 150 September 27, 1953 NC State 10 Marvin Webster C 7-1 225 April 13, 1952 Morgan State University 11 Chuck Williams PG 6-2 175 June 6, 1946 Colorado