Pro basketball fans in Baltimore might feel a bit removed from the NBA playoffs, which began over the weekend.
The team that used to represent the city, the Bullets, moved away 35 years ago. The team they became in Washington, eventually renamed the Wizards, won just 32 games this season, out of playoff contention early.
Yet there is a team — albeit one located more than 1,600 miles away — that has more than a few ties to Baltimore.
And after Saturday night’s 101-96 defeat cheap nba jerseys from china
at home to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their first-round series, the Denver Nuggets might need all the fans they can muster. Game 2 is Tuesday night in Denver.
“I have people always tell me that they’re rooting for us just because of the Baltimore ties we have,” Will Barton said last week. “I feel that the more success we have, the more fans we will have back home.”
Along with Barton, the former Lake Clifton star who’s now in his fourth year in Denver after spending his first four NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Baltimore’s connection to the Nuggets can be found in their front office and coaching staff.
Tim Connelly, in his sixth year as the team’s general manager and vice president for basketball operations, was a 1994 graduate of Towson Catholic High.
Michael Malone, in his fourth season as Denver’s coach, played four years at Loyola Maryland (1989 to 1993) and began his coaching career at the Friends School.
And Wes Unseld Jr., a member of Malone’s coaching staff since 2015-16 and his top assistant the past two seasons, played at Johns Hopkins after growing up around his Hall of Fame father’s adopted hometown.
All have played a major role in Denver’s steady rise from a Western Conference bottom feeder into the No. 2 seed in the West. This marks the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013.
After narrowly missing the playoffs the past two years — including losing in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves last season — the Nuggets finished 54-28.