Coach Malone was furious.

The Denver Nuggets fell 108-111 to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Finals on Friday night at the Denver Bowl Arena.

Like Game 1, Game 2 was dominated by Denver. The Nuggets got off to a slow start, but turned things around and led by as many as 15 points at one point in the second quarter.

However, Denver’s focus didn’t carry over to the second half. After allowing a comeback early in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets clawed their way back into the game, but were unable to pull away. After going 34-7 at home in the regular season, the 1-1 record in the two-game homestand is a bit of a disappointment.

After the game, head coach Mike Malone was unusually frustrated with his players. He didn’t think they played well even after the win, and instead of using carrots, he used sticks.

“That’s not the most important takeaway from tonight’s loss,” Malone said when asked about the lack of scoring from the rest of the starting lineup, with the exception of Nikola Jokic (41 points).

A deeply disappointed Malone said, “I have to talk about the effort of our players. This is the NBA Finals. When I said after Game 1 that we didn’t play well, people probably thought I was making up a storyline. But we actually didn’t play well. This is not an exhibition game, this is not the regular season, this is the NBA Finals. I was really, really, really disappointed in the effort that the players showed tonight.”

“I asked the players after the game why we lost, and they knew the answer. Miami outplayed us, and we played the most unprepared game of our playoff journey so far. We had too many cracks and mistakes, and Miami capitalized on all of our brokenness.”

In Game 1, Malone said his team had a lot of wide-open chances but was fortunate that their opponents didn’t shoot well. In Game 2, Miami took 35 three-pointers, making a whopping 17 of them. Denver’s distractions, miscommunications, and cracks in the defense were a big part of the problem.

“In Game 2, Max Struth made 10 threes, Gabe Vincent made six, Kevin Love made six, Duncan Robinson made three, and those are the guys we need to pay more attention to,” Malone said. In Game 1, they had 16 wide-open 3-point opportunities that they didn’t make, and we were just lucky. Obviously, there were some lapses in communication and game planning in Game 2 that were concerning. We didn’t play with the level of mental preparation and effort that we need to be in the NBA Finals.”

Malone also reflected on the team’s defense in the fourth quarter. In Game 1, Denver held off a relentless late run by Miami. In Game 2, the Nuggets gave up 36 points in the fourth quarter alone and were unable to prevent a comeback.메이저놀이터

“Our defense has to be much better,” Malone said. In both Game 1 and Game 2, our defense in the fourth quarter was close to non-existent.”

After winning Game 1, Denver’s chances of a series sweep were very high. But Game 2 put the series back in doubt. The Nuggets will need to clean up some of the messes from Game 2 to get closer to their first championship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *