Michael Malone’s stern request to Nuggets after ugly 0-2 start vs. Timberwolves

Tony Nguyen | Denver Nuggets
May 10, 2024

The Denver Nuggets are in unfamiliar territory in their second round NBA Playoffs matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the defending champs down in the series heading into their first road game of the series. Coach Michael Malone, however, refuses to sound the alarm despite coming off a huge home loss where the Timberwolves “kicked our a**.”

The Nuggets were rocked by the Timberwolves in a 106-80 loss in Game 2, putting the defending champions behind 0-2 in the series. Malone, talking to the media during team practice prior to Game 3, and pleaded that the team should play and act like the defending champions and “we’ll be just fine.”

“We have to be smart, have a hit-first mentality,” Malone said, when asked about what the team needed after the Timberwolves floored the Nuggets in a blowout. Malone then lamented that the team was not cohesive in the game, which led to a huge loss and their backs against the wall.

“I’ve never seen that in my nine years [as coach], how if things got tough we just kind of fell apart and kind of separated. And as you all know, you can’t do that,” Malone said. “That’s when you have to come together, help each other, and support each other.”

Nuggets share blame in Game 2 loss

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The team went into the video room and saw nine clips compiled by the team’s staff of the Game 2 loss, according to a report by the AP, with the team sharing the blame for the defeat.

“[The clips from Game 2] kind of encapsulated that game and why we lost. And our players owned it. And my greatest challenge to them and I don’t have an answer for whoever’s going to ask me do these guys believe? I don’t know. They all say they do but we will all find out collectively come Friday night,” Michael Malone said.

Jamal Murray, who was slapped a $100,000 fine for throwing a heating pack onto the court in Game 2, owned up to losing his cool but said the team has to stay composed as a unit to overcome a well-matched Timberwolves team.

“We’ve just got to be ready to play and not get frustrated with how the game goes sometimes and we allowed it to take us out of our game,” Murray said. “So, we’ve just got to stay composed and find a way to stick together during the game and figure it out. No matter what the scoreboard says, we’ve got to be able to claw back.”

The Nuggets are looking to cut their best-of-seven NBA Playoffs series deficit against the Timberwolves, when they go on the road to Minneapolis for Game 3 on May 10 at 9:30 p.m. ET.