The customer’s tunnel inside Denver’s basketball area curves nearly instantly to the precise from the enjoying court docket.

There is a tall, black curtain close to the sting of the tunnel, round the place it begins to curve, that’s presupposed to separate the followers leaving their courtside seats from the gamers. Regular folks keep to the left; NBA superstars, millionaires, bench heaters and coaches go to the precise.

The curtain stretches down an extended hallway and ends on the doorways to the customer’s locker room — nearly like a funnel.

Past that curtain is a set of double doorways which are normally open. A single safety guard, in customary darkish blazer and grey slacks, usually sits in a chair in entrance of the open doorways. On the opposite facet is the primary entrance to the Nuggets’ locker room.

On the night time of Nov. 8, the Miami Heat’s gamers headed into that tunnel after an emotional 113-96 drubbing by the Nuggets. They adopted the curtain down the corridor, however they didn’t cease.

The safety guard rose to his toes. Luckily, for all concerned, Heat common supervisor Andy Elisburg was already again within the tunnel. Elisburg is a bigger man, and after he closed one of many doorways, he took his place behind the safety guard within the different, in order that if his gamers had been to complete their mission and attain the Nuggets’ locker room for a combat, they’d actually have needed to undergo him.

Standing reverse Elisburg was Kyle Lowry, carrying a lifeless stare in his eyes. Bam Adebayo was behind Lowry, with an analogous scowl.

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