Sportswriting is perhaps the most prone to cheap clichés, and the Denver Nuggets are making them hard for sportswriters to resist. After losing Game 1 of the opening round in the NBA playoffs on a bad call, the Nuggets were blown out in Game 2 and lost Game 3 Saturday night by three points. Heading into Game 4, Denver is likely to lay everything on the line tonight at the Pepsi Center. No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs, and it’s going to be hard for the Nuggets, given their inability to figure out the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Two of these losses have taken a piece of your heart a little bit,” coach George Karl says (Denver Post).

The series could easily be 2-1 in Denver’s favor if the Nuggets would have found a way to hit their free throws. The team is shooting a paltry 68.7 percent from the free-throw line so far in the series, missing most of them in Games 1 and 3 ( That percentage looms large considering they lost those games by a combined seven points. But if the Nuggets lose another playoff series, bitter fans may take solace in the fact that Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks were swept out of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics this weekend (USA Today).