Runnin’ & Gunnin’ With The 1980s Denver Nuggets

10.02.12 5 years ago 4 Comments

Yours truly is so happy basketball season (ok, training camps) begins tomorrow I really have no clue what to do with myself. True, the NFL and college football have and will continue to dominate a great portion of my sports life, but just knowing the NBA was on the brink of returning was enough to inspire a series of forthcoming basketball-related posts.

What will the series actually be about? I have not the first clue, but this dope ass picture of either the 1982-83 or 1983-84 Denver Nuggets seems like a great place to start. Who exactly are these suave fellows?

— #23 – T.R. Dunn
— #21 – Rob Williams
— #44 – Dan Issel
— #55 – Kiki Vandeweghe
— #2 – Alex English (owner of quite possibly the best and most coveted throwback jersey ever)*

The best thing about these early/mid ’80s Nuggets squads? They employed absolutely the greatest defensive scheme of all time in the fact they didn’t play any defense. Instead, time without the ball was used as means to catch a breather until it was time to initiate the offense again. A walking clinic on offense and black cloud on defense, they were, in essence, an And 1 squad before And 1 even existed. For four consecutive seasons, Denver not only led the league in points per game, they also led the league in opponents points per game.

This was highlighted on December 13, 1984, when Denver and Detroit combined to score 370 points in a 186-184 triple overtime offensive bloodbath. It was the highest scoring game in NBA history and one Vinnie Johnson admitted felt like “a summer league game, no defense at all…It was run and gun from the start.” Detroit ending up winning, led by Isiah Thomas’ 47 points and 17 assists, and it also came to describe the Denver Nuggets’ calling card.

There was nothing teams could do to stop them from scoring. Then again, it’s not like they did much to stop them either.

* – If you ever want to win a bet, ask someone who lead the 1980’s in scoring. If they guess Alex English, they deserve your money. And you should probably stop betting.

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