AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who made headlines after criticizing the amount of chatter surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers during his team’s sweep of them in the Western Conference Finals, has moved on from the discourse after leading the franchise to its first-ever NBA Finals appearance.
ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk provided Malone’s comments Friday.
Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Michael Malone was asked about his comments about narrative being all about Lakers and not Denver in last round and if narrative will be same for Nuggets entering Finals: “If anyone is still talking about the Lakers, that’s on them. They’ve gone fishing. We’re still playing.”
The question was in reference to comments Malone made after the Nuggets’ Game 2 win over the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Specifically, Malone noted the national narrative surrounding the Lakers and how they could come back in the series after engineering a late charge in Game 1 en route to a 132-126 loss.
Meanwhile, two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić dropped a 34-point, 21-rebound, 14-assist triple-double in Game 1, and he now has eight triple-doubles in the playoffs. Malone mentioned how the talk after the game wasn’t focused much on the star’s performance. He also noted how much of the discussion centered around the Lakers’ decision to guard Jokić with Rui Hachimura.
“Much [is being] made of them putting Rui Hachimura on Nikola Jokić,” Malone said on May 17, per Youngmisuk. “Like we have never seen that before.”
Jokić ended up averaging 27.8 points, 14.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists in the conference finals He posted triple-doubles in three of the four games.
Denver now awaits the winner of the Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Eastern Conference Finals series. Miami is up three games to two and will host Boston for Game 6 on Saturday.