As I write this blog, the Nuggets are down by 24 points to the Los Angeles Lakers with 1:36 to go in game six of the Western Conference finals -- playing out the string in the kind of loss we'd come to expect in previous years, but had thought the Nugs had finally managed to outgrow. Denver didn't look ready for prime time, and they were so self-conscious about the officiating that by the second half, Kobe Bryant was able to treat defenders like turnstiles.
And yet: What a run. What an incredible run. Better than '94. Better than '85. I haven't had as much fun watching the Nuggets since David Thompson was in his prime. Yes, I feel shitty, as I'm sure every Denver fan does. But that's balanced by a sense of sweet satisfaction, and a creeping suspicion that this team isn't a one-year wonder. Wait 'til next year is a loser's mantra. But this time around, it doesn't feel nearly as empty as usual. Thanks, Chauncey. Thanks, Melo. Thanks, J.R. and Birdman and Dahntay and all the rest. It may have ended ugly, but memories of the beauty will linger for a good long time.