Michael Malone criticizes Nikola Jokic for play in loss to Boston
The Denver Nuggets suffered a remarkable collapse late in Sunday’s game against the Boston Celtics, and coach Michael Malone was particularly unhappy with his star player.
The Celtics closed Sunday’s win on a 40-8 run over the third and fourth quarter in a 105-87 win. The game was particularly frustrating for Nikola Jokic, who grew immensely frustrated with the officiating. On a couple possessions, he failed to get back on defense in a timely manner while complaining to the officials.
At one point in the fourth, Jokic also pointedly excluded himself from Denver’s huddle.
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) April 11, 2021
After the game, Malone said he understood Jokic’s frustration, but suggested that the All-Star center must do a better job not letting that distract him.
Michael Malone on Nikola Jokic: “He gets frustrated with the referees…. But that can never take away from your duties as a basketball player.”
— Mike Singer (@msinger) April 11, 2021
Jokic ended up finishing with a triple-double, but the line of 17 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds was underwhelming by his high standards.
There’s a case to be made that the frustrations between Jokic and Malone can go both ways. Jokic is a competitive guy, but it’s clear he let some circumstances beyond his control throw off his game in the fourth quarter.