Playoff Memories: Eighth-Seeded Nuggets Upset Sonics in ’94


With at 42-40 record, the Denver Nuggets barely clinched the No. 8 seed in the ’94 Playoffs. Their next task? Facing the No. 1 seed Seattle SuperSonics (RIP), who were coming off a 63 win season. After losing the first two games, Denver beat the shit out of Seattle in Game 3, they pulled out a 94-85 OT win in Game 4. The series was tied going back to Seattle, and although I wanted Denver to pull off the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history, I figured-even at 9 years old-it was a wrap for them. We were all wrong. Denver slowed the game down and kept Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf in check. Mutombo did what he did best during his career-shut the lane down, and backup Guard Robert Pack dropped 10 of his 23 points in a huge 4th quarter. Brian Williams (RIP) was an animal that game, finishing with 19 points and 17 rebounds and LaPhonso Ellis added 17 points. A Kendall Gill layup sent the game into OT, but it didn’t matter. Denver won the game 98-94, becoming the first 8 seed to take out a 1 seed. They almost did it again it the next round, losing three straight games before winning three straight against Jazz. They lost Game 7, but still secured their place in the history.

I remember going nuts as a little kid when Denver beat Seattle, and that image of Mutombo holding the ball is one of the greatest images in Playoff history. Where I’m from, we love the underdog and it was only fitting that 7 years later Mutombo would help the Sixers reach the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years. That’s another story though….

1 Comment

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