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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Nuggets coach implies Nikola Jokic benched for poor effort

Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic was benched for the entire fourth quarter of the Denver Nuggets’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, and it seems like his effort was a big reason why.

Jokic scored just four points with nine rebounds and five assists in Denver’s 118-107 loss to the 20-45 Mavs. He only played 26 minutes in the game, down from his average of 31.5.

After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he saw a lack of effort from many of his players.

He also said those who do not give full effort will not play.

Given that Jokic did not play in the fourth quarter and those were Malone’s comments, it seems effort is the reason why he was benched. Jokic said he had not talked to his coach about the reason why.

Here’s an example of what may have bothered Malone – Jokic was hanging out in the paint while Dirk Nowitzki had an open shot in the third quarter:

Nowitzki was 5-for-7 on threes, while Yogi Ferrell was 6-for-7 from deep.

When you’re in the middle of a playoff race, you want your players going hard and beating teams trying to tank like Dallas. This was a bad loss for Denver.

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