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#pounditThursday, January 26, 2023

Articles tagged: Michael Malone

Nuggets coach had great quote about facing Warriors

Michael Malone smiling

Feb 5, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors have dealt with a revolving door of players all season, leading some to believe they’ll have to “learn on the fly” during the NBA Playoffs. But don’t tell that to Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone because he isn’t buying it.

Asked by a reporter about Golden State potentially lacking a rapport, Malone shot back and shut down the notion immediately.

“Learning on the fly, my [expletive],” Malone said, via Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “Those guys have a lot of experience together. So sell that iceberg to somebody else.”

The Nuggets and Warriors have squared off multiple times in the playoffs over the past decade, so Malone knows a little something about their chemistry. And as it turns out, he was spot on anyway.

Golden State smoked Denver in Game 1, walking away with a dominating 123-107 victory.

“It’s a scary sight when we really get going,” Klay Thompson said, via ESPN. “This is really only our first time really playing together.”

Things went from “learn on the fly” to “scary sight” real fast. Now it’s up to Malone and the Nuggets to adjust on the fly or risk heading home much earlier than they desired.

Video: Chris Paul, Michael Malone shared big embrace after series

Chris Paul Suns

Chris Paul and Michael Malone shared a big embrace after the series between their teams ended on Sunday night.

Paul’s Phoenix Suns beat Malone’s Denver Nuggets 125-118 in Game 4 to sweep their Western Conference semifinals series. Even though his team just got swept, Malone gave much love to Paul, his former player.

Take a look at this close embrace between the men:

That was great sportsmanship from Malone, who probably was disappointed over his team being swept.

Malone also praised Paul postgame as one of the great players all-time.

Malone served as an assistant coach on the New Orleans Hornets from 2010-2011 when CP3 was on the team. Paul said the feelings between them were mutual. He said Malone was one of his favorite coaches.

Even though both teams were trying hard to win, it’s cool to see the nice sportsmanship after the competition ends.

The Suns are now in the Western Conference finals and await the winners of the Jazz-Clippers series. The Nuggets go home but got a consolation with their first ever MVP award.

Michael Malone apologized to Cassidy Hubbarth over name correction

Michael Malone

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone apologized to reporter Cassidy Hubbarth for correcting her on national TV.

Hubbarth was serving as a reporter during Game 1 of the Nuggets’ playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. During an interview between quarters, Hubbarth called Malone “Mike.” He immediately corrected her to say “Michael.”

Hubbarth later apologized on Twitter for getting his name wrong.

Some people found Malone to be out of line for correcting Hubbarth on national TV like that. He may have been annoyed with his team losing, and that may have played a role in his behavior.

The Nuggets coach ended up contacting Hubbarth to apologize, according to Charles Barkley. Barkley said he was happy Malone reached out to Hubbarth to apologize.

It’s nice that Malone set the record straight about his name, because we have called him “Mike” plenty of times before. We now know now to make that error again.

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.

Michael Malone cracks funny ‘3-1’ joke ahead of Lakers series

Michael Malone

The Denver Nuggets are unstoppable these playoffs when down 3-1, and head coach Michael Malone almost wants to keep playing from behind.

Malone joked Thursday that the Nuggets were hoping to start the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers already in a 3-1 deficit.

“We petitioned the league to start down 3-1,” said Malone, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “Save everybody a lot of time and get caught up to the Eastern Conference [series]. They shut that down.”

Down 3-1 in the first round against the Utah Jazz, the Nuggets rattled off three consecutive wins to advance. Lightning then struck twice when they climbed out of a 3-1 hole to upset the heavily-favored LA Clippers in the second round. Denver is now the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit multiple times in the same postseason.

The team is obviously playing with a ton of resiliency right now and having a lot of fun out there. While the Lakers are overwhelming favorites once again in the series, we have learned by now to never count out this Nuggets squad.

Michael Malone reveals what is fueling Nuggets ahead of Game 7

Michael Malone

The Denver Nuggets were never favored to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals. They were essentially considered finished after falling behind 3-1. Instead of rolling over, the Nuggets came back from two double-digit deficits and forced a decisive Game 7.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has heard the doubters, and he thinks the team has as well. That perception, he says, is fueling the players ahead of Game 7.

“I almost feel like we’re The Bad News Bears and I’m Coach Buttermaker,” Malone said Monday, via Sean Keeler of the Denver Post. “We’re a team that nobody really looks at and takes us seriously. And our guys, I think, have taken that personally.

“But we don’t believe (that label). We don’t believe that’s what we are. We feel that we’re just as good as anybody. We feel like we’re an NBA championship-caliber team.”

The Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, were constructed to win a title. The Nuggets have stars in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, but never got anywhere close to the same hype. That’s despite the fact that Denver was only 3.5 games worse than the Clippers record-wise during the regular season.

Nuggets players are certainly aware of how they’re perceived. They’re clearly focused on upsetting the odds and the pundits on Tuesday night.

Michael Malone takes shot at Patrick Beverley over Nikola Jokic comments

Michael Malone

The Los Angeles Clippers have rubbed another team the wrong way with comments made to the media.

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone took a shot at Clippers guard Patrick Beverley on Tuesday over comments Beverley made about Nikola Jokic.

After the Clippers’ Game 3 win Monday, Beverley made a series of critical comments about Jokic influencing officials, which you can read here. That didn’t sit well with Malone, who indicated that he didn’t care much for Beverley’s opinion.

“I don’t listen to Patrick Beverley a whole lot,” Malone said Tuesdsay, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “If Kawhi Leonard was talking, maybe I might’ve listened to it. Kawhi is a great player. But all you have to do is look at the stat sheet.”

Malone added that there was a huge free throw disparity in Game 3 that favored the Clippers, and finished by saying he was “not really sure what game Patrick is talking about or looking at.”

Malone is pretty clear here. In his eyes, Beverley isn’t a great player, and his opinion is irrelevant. It’s fair to say the heat has been turned up a bit on this series.

The Clippers weren’t afraid to have some verbal clashes with the Dallas Mavericks, either. This series isn’t yet as contentious as that one turned out to be, but it may be on its way.

Michael Malone rips NBA for restrictions on coach family visits

Michael Malone

NBA players have been happy to welcome their families into the bubble as the playoffs get underway. Coaches have not had that luxury.

The league has allowed a limited number of family members to join players in the Orlando bubble. That allowance does not extend to staffers, including coaches. They will not be allowed to see their families for the duration of their bubble stay.

That’s a source of anger for at least one coach. Denver’s Michael Malone ripped the league for its restriction, calling it “criminal.”

The bubble can be tough for everyone in it. That includes coaches. They have spouses and, in some cases, young children that they haven’t seen in weeks. It can certainly take a toll.

Michael Malone signs contract extension with Nuggets

Michael Malone Nuggets

Michael Malone has earned a well-deserved contract extension with the Denver Nuggets.

For the second time in just over a year, Malone has signed a new deal with Denver, the team announced Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the deal runs through the 2022-23 season.

Malone certainly deserves the plaudits. The team has increased its win percentage in every season under him, and he’s off to a 21-8 start in 2019-20 after winning 54 games last season. The next step is likely further advancement in the playoffs. Last year was the firs ttime Denver made the playoffs under Malone, and they fell in seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Malone looks well-positioned to keep the momentum going in Denver. He’s confident and a great quote, too, suggesting the future is bright for the Nuggets.

Michael Malone refuses to blame Nikola Jokic for Nuggets’ loss

Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets suffered a difficult season-ending defeat Sunday to the Portland Trail Blazers, and a few of their players didn’t perform when the team needed them most.

Center Nikola Jokic went 11-for-26 from the field, missing several key shots down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Coach Michael Malone admitted after the defeat that Jokic took responsibility for the 100-96 loss in the locker room, but Malone refused to assign the blame to him.

In truth, Denver’s defeat was a team effort. Jokic did not have a great shooting night, but Jamal Murray went 4-of-18 and failed to knock down any of his four three point tries. Combine that with some huge moments from Portland’s star players and you have a recipe for defeat.