Can the Nuggets rise from the ashes like the mythical Egyptian Phoenix with golden plumage and conquer Phoenix?
I’ve witnessed miracles.
Not the Old Testament parting-of-the-Red-Sea kind. Or Our Lady of Guadalupe, although I visited the basilica in Mexico City.
But, among the thousands of profound events in the past half century of covering sports, I saw the Giants come from behind to beat the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI; the Nuggets becoming the first eighth seed to knock off a No. 1 seed (SuperSonics) after being down 2-0 in a best-of-five series; Jimmy Connors rallying to defeat John McEnroe in the 1982 Wimbledon final; Tennessee and quarterback Peyton Manning overcoming Alabama in 1996 (a personal favorite); the Nuggets responding to being down 3-1 in two playoff series last season and advancing both times; the Colorado Buffs in the Orange Bowl upsetting Notre Dame; the Broncos coming back, then holding off the Packers for their first Super Bowl title; and the Avalanche, trailing 3-2 in the Stanley Cup finals to the Devils and playing the sixth game in New Jersey, winning twice for the championship.
And wrestler Rulon Gardner, who lived in Colorado Springs, pulling off in the 2000 A.D. Olympics the greatest individual upset since Milo of Croton in the 536 B.C. Olympics.
Will I watch another phenomenal comeback in the next week?
Michael Malone believes he can be a miracle worker in the tradition of Helen Keller's teacher Anne Sullivan, Herb Brooks in the Miracle on Ice and Joshua bringing down the house at Jericho.
The Suns lead the Nuggets 3-zilch in the second round of the playoffs.
“As far as the 3-0 deficit, yes, history is not on our side,’’ Malone said after the Nuggets and the numbers were crunched once more Friday night. “But you know what. We have rewritten history the last couple of years (actually just last season). When we were down 3-1 twice last year it was never about trying to win three more games. It was about winning the next game, winning the first quarter, winning the second quarter, and that’s got to be our mindset.’’
Trouble is, just three days ago Malone was describing these same players as “quitters.’’
In 12 quarters in Phoenix and Denver, the Nuggets have played decently in perhaps 2½.
That recent history, and the history of professional team sports doesn’t strengthen Malone’s argument.
Let’s humor him, though.
Who’ll ever forget the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association’s Cup Finals when the San Miguel Beermen (yes) recovered from losing the first three games to the Alaska Aces and snatched the league championship?
How ‘bout them Toronto Maple Leafs? They couldn’t win the seventh game at home against the Montreal Canadiens after leading in the series 3-1.
(People were expecting an Avalanche-Maple Leafs Can-Am Western Conference Finals but didn’t even get a Habs-Avs-Not challenge.)
However, in 1942, Toronto, down 3-0 in Lord Stanley’s Chalice Chase, stunned the Red Wings in four consecutive games.
When the Seibu Lions and the Yomiuri Giants get together in the Nippon pro baseball league, throw out the record books. In 1958 the Giants got their come-downance by losing the last four in a row to the Lions Kings.
And in the most celebrated turnaround of them all, the 2004 Red Sox dropped the first three games of the ALCS to the dreaded Yankees, but Boston then won four and went on to be World Series champs for the first time since 1918.
So, it can be done.
So, can the Nuggets do it?
Only in Malone’s dreams.
A fairy tale of epic proportions with a missing shoe, a magic mirror, a princely kiss, a beauty and a beast mode would be required. Jamal Murray would have to be cured Sunday afternoon by Moses or Moses Malone. Murray would have to stand from his chair on the Nuggets’ sideline and become superhero Captain Canada as he did in the playoffs last year.
Even then, Jamal wouldn’t be the savior.
The Nuggets are the gang that can’t shoot straight.
The Golden Knights were superior to the Avalanche, and the golden Suns are superior to the Nuggets. The two Colorado teams might lose a combined eight consecutive playoff games, which is rather sad.
Just maybe, though, the Nuggets will win one game Sunday. Only a minor miracle is possible.