Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone appears annoyed with the media’s narrative around his team’s Western Conference Finals series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Following Denver’s 108-103 victory Thursday night in Game 2, Malone blasted the “national narrative” after the Nuggets won Game 1 in Denver on Tuesday.
“You win Game 1 of the playoffs and all everybody talked about was the Lakers,” Malone told reporters after the Game 2 win. “Let’s be honest, that was a national narrative, ‘Hey, the Lakers are fine. They’re down 1-0, but they figured something out.’
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“No one talked about Nikola [Jokic] just having a historic performance. He’s got 13 triple-doubles now, third all-time. What he’s doing is just incredible, but the narrative wasn’t about the Nuggets, the narrative wasn’t about Nikola, the narrative was about the Lakers and their adjustments. So, you put that in your pipe, you smoke it, and you come back. We’re gonna go up 2-0.”
Jokic was dominant in the Nuggets’ Game 1 victory, scoring 31 points while grabbing 21 rebounds and dishing 14 assists.
While Denver led by as many as 21 points during the game, the Lakers clawed back in the second half, getting within three points late in the fourth quarter.
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The Lakers were able to slow Jokic down in the second half of Game 1 when Rui Hachimura was given the defensive assignment on the two-time MVP.
On Thursday, the Nuggets came back from an 11-point deficit, outscoring the Lakers by eight points in the fourth quarter for the Game 2 victory.
“I don’t care if it does because we know our narrative in that locker room,” Malone said when asked if the narrative had changed after the Game 2 win. “We know that we’re not done, we haven’t done anything yet. You got to win a game on the other team’s home court if you really want to do something in the series, and we know how great that team is, especially on their home court.
“So, we’re not celebrating. This is not cause for celebration. This is a cause to continue to dig deep and find ways to be better.”
The series now heads to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday.
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