The Denver Nuggets have struck first blood by taking Game 1 against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. The Nuggets defeated the Heat by 104-93 to take an early advantage. Nuggets coach Michael Malone though believes that the Heat are not going down without a fight and they must be wary of the danger that they possess.
After the win, Malone was asked about the Heat in the post-match press conference and there he shared his thoughts. He believes that the Heat have everything in their power to bite back in the Finals.
“They aren’t going to go quietly into that good night,” Malone said. “They’re a well-coached team, and they’re here for a reason.”
When asked about the Nuggets, Malone was delighted with his team’s defensive abilities. He felt that it was a huge deal to hold Miami to only 93 points on the night. They also just gave away two free throws.
“Well, there were a lot of things that I liked,” Malone said. “To hold that team to 93 points. Only 40% from the field, 33% from the 3-point line, which is below their 39% (average) in the playoffs,” he highlighted.
He shared how Jimmy Butler is an elite free-throw shooter and the fact that Heat had only two free-throw attempt in Game 1 speaks volumes about the Nuggets defense. On the other hand, the Nuggets went to the line 20 times, highlighting the stark difference.
“Probably the most impressive defensive stat was only two free-throw attempts. I think we got there 20 times. And, you know, Jimmy Butler is one of the best in the business at getting to the foul line. So, two free-throw attempts, I thought our guys did a great job of defending without fouling,” Malone expressed.
Nikola Jokic also shared that they are not going to feel relaxed after winning a single game. He understands what his teammates are capable of and are working towards that common goal.
“I’m not excited, to be honest,” Jokic said. “I’m really focused and I know what they are capable of. They beat some really good teams that had a better record than us. We are as a team, we are not relaxed,” Jokic stated.
The two-time MVP had a fantastic night as he finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 boards. Jamal Murray also had a great night with 26 points, 10 assists and six boards. Bam Adebayo was the top scorer for the Heat with 26 points, 13 boards and five assists.
The Heat will travel to Denver to play Game 2 on Sunday. The Nuggets hold a perfect postseason record at home and they would like to extend it to eight games. While the Heat will look for a strong comeback to make a statement.