It’s a matchup that Nuggets fans have certainly dreamt of. Thanks to the power of modern video games such as NBA 2K20, fans got to enjoy a clash between the current Nuggets team and the historic 1993–94 team that featured Dikembe Mutombo and a slew of fan-favorites.
Although the 1993–94 Nuggets may have only won 42 games in the regular season, they made history with a first-round upset over the top-seeded Seattle SuperSonics in the 1994 playoffs. Denver became the first eighth seed to defeat a top-seeded team in the first round of the playoffs.
Today’s version of the Nuggets has found plenty of success in recent seasons, fresh off an appearance in the Western Conference semifinals in the 2018–19 season before racking up a 43–22 record in the 2019–20 season before the stoppage of play due to COVID-19.
However, all of that was thrown out the window as the two teams matched up on the virtual hardwood Thursday night.
The modern-day Nuggets controlled the game through all four quarters, as the team’s impressive depth was on full display. As a result, the 2019–20 Nuggets defeated the memorable 1993–94 team 63–56 in a wire-to-wire victory.
Here are three takeaways from the victory:
Mutombo led the charge for the ’94 Nuggets
All eyes were on the virtual matchup between Dikembe Mutombo and Nikola Jokić, two of the greatest centers to ever wear a Nuggets jersey. Although Jokić’s team ended up with the victory, Mutombo was dominant throughout the game and kept the ’94 team competitive. Denver Nuggets Schedule
The Hall-of-Fame big man finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Furthermore, Mutombo finished +4 on the night, which highlights his incredible impact considering the ’94 team suffered a seven-point loss.
Michael Porter Jr. couldn’t be contained
Although the 1993–94 Nuggets were a dominant defensive team (they finished fifth in the league in defensive rating), they had no answer for Porter Jr., who used his size and shooting ability to lead the offense off the bench.
The 21-year-old forward finished with 13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field, which led him to finish +5 on the night.
Jokić contributed across the board
Not to be overshadowed by Mutombo, Jokić made sure to make his presence felt Thursday. The two-time All-Star finished with nine points, six rebounds, three assists and one block in his 17 minutes of action (the game was played on six-minute quarters).
Although this wasn’t the most dominant performance from the Serbian big man, he did just enough to propel the 2019–20 Nuggets to a victory over their throwback counterparts.