Stephen A. Smith Admits Underestimating Nuggets: Champions for a Reason

ESPN's Smith retracts criticism after Nuggets' stunning comeback.

by Abdullah Magsi
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Stephen A. Smith Admits Underestimating Nuggets: Champions for a Reason
© Eric Espada/Getty Images

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith was humbled after prematurely dismissing the Denver Nuggets' chances in their playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Following a dramatic comeback by the Nuggets in Game 3, Smith, known for his assertive commentary, publicly recanted his previous statements and extended an apology to the defending champions.

The series began with the Timberwolves securing a dominant 2-0 lead, sparking predictions of an imminent sweep from many, including Smith. This outlook seemed justified as the Nuggets struggled, scoring only 80 points in Game 2, overwhelmed by Minnesota's top-ranked defence.

Yet, the narrative shifted dramatically after the series moved to the Target Center for Game 3. Denver, led by a resilient Jamal Murray, who scored 24 points, overturned expectations by not only winning but doing so with a commanding display of efficiency and grit.

The team shot 56% from the field and an impressive 53% from beyond the arc, effectively silencing critics and revitalizing their championship campaign. This performance was pivotal as it not only demonstrated Denver's robust offensive capabilities but also highlighted their ability to dismantle Minnesota’s defensive schemes strategically.

Stephen A.' s Humble Apology

Stephen A. Smith's reaction to this turnaround was a mix of astonishment and humility. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I got to stand down. I owe the Denver Nuggets, the reigning, defending NBA champions...Damn it, I don't apologize much.

But I owe the champions an apology. They are the champions for a reason. And they showed up and reminded the world last night what champions are made of," Smith confessed on his show. The game also spotlighted a disappointing performance from Timberwolves' star Anthony Edwards, who managed only 19 points.

Edwards, who recently differentiated himself from legends like Michael Jordan citing his three-point prowess, faced a stark reality check. Post-game, he acknowledged his lackluster energy, accepting responsibility for the Timberwolves' loss.

As the series progresses, the focus now shifts to Minnesota's head coach Chris Finch, to see if he can counter Mike Malone's strategic adjustments that proved so effective in Game 3. With both teams gearing up for a crucial Game 4, the series remains a testament to the unpredictability of playoff basketball and the enduring spirit of a team that refuses to be counted out.

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