Nuggets forward Torrey Craig nearly entered undesirable territory on Tuesday, missing an unnecessary layup and giving the Jazz a chance to win Game 7.
Denver Nuggets forward Torrey Craig gave fans a scare during the final seconds of Game 7 against the Jazz on Tuesday night, inexplicably missing an easy layup and giving Utah point guard Mike Conley a chance to win at the buzzer.
Conley nearly converted, and if he had, Craig immediately would have joined the likes of Bill Buckner, Rahim Moore, and Brandon Bostick as a player who cost his team a playoff game or series with a self-inflicted error.
There was no reason for Craig to take the shot in the first place. After the Nuggets forced a Donovan Mitchell turnover up by two in the final seconds, holding the ball across half court and waiting for a foul would have been the wise move.
Instead, point guard Jamal Murray pushed toward the basket, dishing to Craig, who botched the layup. Conley’s 3-point attempt at the other end went in and out, and Donovan Mitchell collapsed to the floor an emotional wreck. Had the shot gone in, Craig likely would have provided a similar reaction.
Conley’s miss allowed Torrey Craig and the rest of the Nuggets to joke about the close call.
Luckily for both Denver and Craig, the Nuggets were able to survive the close call, winning a highly-contested Game 7 80-78. Murray was quick to poke fun at his teammate in his post-game press conference, a luxury provided by the narrow win.
Even Nuggets head coach Mike Malone piled on in the locker room, joking that the team should avoid passing Craig the ball the next time there was a fast break.
The exciting Game 7 ending capped off one of the most compelling first-round series in recent memory, with Mitchell and Murray going back and forth and providing fans with plenty of memorable moments.
Ultimately, Murray got the last laugh, with the Nuggets overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to move on. Next up for Denver is the Los Angeles Clippers, with Game 1 scheduled to tip-off at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday.