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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Michael Malone criticizes Nikola Jokic for play in loss to Boston

Nikola Jokic

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.

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.

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.

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