But with his team already down 1-0 in the first-round series, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone drew inspiration from the Los Angeles Clippers, who produced the biggest comeback in playoff history by overcoming a 31-point third-quarter deficit against the defending champion Golden State Warriors the previous night.
"I reminded them what the Clippers did (Monday) night and how much basketball is left," Malone said afterward, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk.
"It's only going to happen though if we believe, we commit, we fight, and we attack - and the guys took it to heart."
In the end, the Nuggets used a 39-23 fourth quarter to complete the comeback and even the series at 1-1 with a 114-105 victory before heading to Texas for Game 3 on Thursday.
The resurgence was made possible by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who struggled to get anything going through the first seven quarters of the series (20 points on 8-31 shooting) before catching fire in the fourth quarter of Game 2, connecting on eight of nine field-goal attempts for 21 points.
"Just mental bounce back," Murray said of his two-day break between games. "Obviously wasn't happy with myself, frustrated. The way I played (in Game 1) ... I rushed everything. I was excited. I let the crowd, the amazing energy, get to me.
"I wanted to go into Game 2 relaxed."
The victory on Tuesday marked the Nuggets' first playoff win since 2013. They haven't advanced to the second round since 2009.