We’ve Rewritten History Before
Even after watching his team fall into a 3-0 hole during Game 3’s 116-102 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals Friday night, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone hopes his team won’t be eliminated by sweep. on Sunday.
“I know myself, I can’t speak for anyone else, and the last thing I want to see is the Phoenix Suns with a broom on our court after game four,” Malone said. “We’ve had a phenomenal, fantastic season. I said starting this year you can’t judge the season by the end result. We got to the Western Conference finals last year, certain things can happen, but we can have a better season this year. Not getting to that year. limit.
“But the one thing I don’t want is for us to quietly go out into that good night. I hope we can show a real struggle and resolve and force a 5 game by coming back to Phoenix for a 5 match.”
Malone drew attention after losing in the second game when he said he felt his team had “given up” as the Suns beat them in the second half for the second game in a row.
He looked happier with his team’s efforts after Game Three, and took comfort in the fact that his young group came out of the 3-1 hole twice during last season’s bubble playoffs.
“In terms of lagging 3-0, yes, history is not on our side,” Malone said. “But you know what? We’ve been rewriting history over the past few years. When we lost 3-1 twice last year, it was never about trying to win three more games. It was about winning the next game, winning the first game the second quarter, winning the fourth. Second, this should be our mentality.”
Nuggets also need to find a stronger solution when it comes to defending the All-Star. Chris Paul, who has been burning Nuggets throughout the series. That continued on Friday, when Paul scored 27 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Paul’s stable presence was a big reason the Suns were one game away from the end of the Denver season. He scored 30 points in 12 of 13 shots, including 4 of 4 of 3 points, with eight assists and no moves collected in all quarters of this series, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
“We have to make it more difficult for him,” said the Nuggets’ guard, Monte Morris. “He’s a Hall of Fame guard, easily in the top five, still playing in the NBA…He’s getting everyone involved. CP is a tough cover for anyone, but we have to stick to our game plan and try to execute in the best possible way.
Morris added: “Wednesday – it’s 3-0. We have to leave everything there. We have nothing to lose. But we certainly don’t try to drift before the holiday season comes home. That’s not going to happen we will.”
The only feel that sits well with the hub-centered Nuggets. Nikola Jokic, who was named the best player before the Friday game and then went out and scored 32 points, got 20 rebounds and provided 10 assists. Join Jokic Wilt Chamberlain s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to have 30 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in a playoff, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research.
“It was a special moment,” Jokic said. “I enjoyed the moment. I wish my wife and dad were here. I had my teammates behind me because that’s my trophy, but it’s for them all. So I have to thank them.”
If the Jokic and the Nuggets lose Match 4 on Sunday, he will become the fifth best player in league history to be swept in a playoff series, joining Magic Johnson (late 1989), Moses Malone (1979 first round), Abdul-Jabbar (1977 conference finals) and Wes Unseld (1969 conference semi-finals).
“We have already tested a [juego de cierre]The sun guard said, Devin Booker. “We know these players are not going to give up. They have the best player in the league out there, they’re well led by Mike Malone and they have some players who are playing hard. Nobody wants their season to end, so we know they’re going to try. With everything and we’re ready for that.”
Malone said he hopes his team can sort things out before it’s too late.
“My only hope is that we haven’t let the rope out of what history tells us,” Malone said. “My only hope is that Sunday noon/night comes and any time this game comes our guys show up and fight. I think they deserve it, their teammates deserve it, our fans deserve it, get out there and drop everything on the line and you can walk off the field with your head held high. .”
ESPN’s Royce Young contributed to this report.