Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone had earlier stated they didn’t play well despite them winning the opening game of the series by 104-93 against Miami Heat. They lost the second game of the NBA Finals by 111-108 and Malone slammed his players for the lack of effort on the court.
Once again, Malone didn’t mince his words in the post-match press conference and admitted they didn’t play well and it was hugely disappointing after their poor show.
Meanwhile, the Heat shoot 68.8% and scored 36 points as compared to Nuggets’ 25 in the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on Sunday night and it was the turning point of the game.
Malone feels his players lacked effort on the court and they were not confident enough in the shot-making.
“Let’s talk about effort,” Malone said. “This is the NBA Finals. We are talking about effort. That’s a huge concern of mine. You guys probably thought I was just making up some storyline after Game 1 when I said we didn’t play well. We didn’t play well.
“Tonight, the starting lineup to start the game, it was 10-2 Miami. Start of the third quarter, they scored 11 points in [just over two minutes]. We had guys out there that were just, whether feeling sorry for themselves for not making shots or thinking they can just turn it on or off — this is not the preseason, this is not the regular season. This is the NBA Finals. That, to me, is really, really perplexing, disappointing.”
On the other hand, Denver Nuggets’ talisman Nikola Jokic admitted that the Heat played according to their plans and made them dance to their tunes whereas they couldn’t execute their strategy.
“They just put us in their rhythm,” Jokic said. “And we didn’t want to play that way, and they want to, obviously. But maybe just to play a little bit faster is going to help us.”
Malone feels his players need to come up with a better defensive game in the third game of the series. The Heat had also taken the fourth quarter of the opening game by 30-20 despite the loss.
“Our defense has to be a hell of a lot better. That’s two fourth quarters, Game 1 and Game 2, where our fourth-quarter defense has been nonexistent.”
The third game of the NBA Finals will be played on Wednesday night.