“Never Underestimate The Heart Of A Champion” – Nuggets Coach Michael Malone To The Doubters Who Left His Team For Dead

Nuggets Coach
@NBATV

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone could’ve let his players waver when they lost their first two games of the series at home against the Timberwolves. Instead, he had an edit made of all the talking heads who believed Minnesota was clearly moving on to the Conference Finals and would roll the Nuggets the rest of the way.

Cut to mere days later, and the reigning NBA champs manhandled the Wolves in two emphatic road victories. Malone felt a type of way about it after late Sunday evening’s 115-107 triumph, seeming a little irked by those who wrote off his squad so soon.

Almost everyone in the general NBA orbit is ready for new blood. Nobody can seem to properly appreciate LeBron James’ greatness in real time. I’ve never seen such a superior athlete picked apart to such a granular degree, with the prevailing desire to rush him to the end of his career. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant — also underappreciated and one of the better pure offensive players of all-time — continues to do absolutely nothing of consequence on an annual basis and receives a fraction of the criticism and hate.

There’s a point to saying all that about LeBron and KD. Here it is. Nikola Jokic has won three of the last four MVPs, yet when his Nuggets had a couple poor showings, suddenly he was this awful player who ran into a buzzsaw and the “closest thing we’ve seen to Michael Jordan” in Anthony Edwards. Not that Ant isn’t having a spectacular postseason run right now. He totally is. It’s just that nowadays, the vast majority of the populace is so obsessed with moving on to the next new, shiny phenomenon that it’s almost impossible to take in the present for what it is.

Jokic’s brand of basketball isn’t nearly as exciting as Edwards’ play style. It’s telling that this is one of the more viral memes to emerge from another dominant performance by the reigning regular-season and NBA Finals MVP.

…As for that “Defensive Player of the Year” reference, that’d be a nod to Minnesota big man Rudy Gobert. I think I’ve spoken/typed my mind and then some about that enough. Best to hand it off to Kendrick Perkins on this occasion in the interest of time, your attention span, and my sanity.

In the thumbnail for the video above, you can see some trash that Edwards talked to Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray. I admire the 22-year-old’s audacity, and Edwards has played well enough as an individual to back it up.

On the other hand, maybe Ant should chill out a bit. This is the type of conduct that you’d expect from a young gun who just blew a 2-0 series lead at home. Now, Edwards and his mates have to go back to Denver at least once, in the altitude, and find a way to get two more wins in the next three. A very tall order to say the least.

When your best threat to slow down Jokic is getting absolutely yeeted out of on-court relevancy and can only resort to implying the refs are paid off, you might be in trouble, T’Wolves.

Is that a heart of a champion? Didn’t think so. Might be something to what Michael Malone is saying. Might want to ride the Nuggets the rest of the way. Just saying.

Not like Gobert’s frontcourt partner was of much assistance in Game 4, either. Karl-Anthony Towns bricked 13 of his 18 shots from the field, whereas Denver forward Aaron Gordon made 11 of 12 shots en route to 27 points.

Towns and Gobert better get it together. Otherwise, the Wolves’ trade for the latter involving a bazillion future first-round picks will suddenly become the focal point of Minnesota’s narrative. Edwards’ greatness is providing cover for that. At least, for now…

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