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Nuggets Coach Malone Questions His Players’ Effort After Game 2 Loss to Heat
- Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone blasted his players' effort in Game 2
- The Nuggets lost at home to the Miami Heat in second game of the NBA Finals
- The best of seven series is now tied 1-1 and Malone said he is disappointed
The Denver Nuggets' perfect home record in the 2023 NBA playoffs is gone. They were stunned in Game 2 of the NBA Finals by the Miami Heat, who narrowly won 111-108, tying the best-of-seven series 1-1.
Nuggets coach, Michael Malone was not happy with his team's effort, saying it was a disappointing performance in front of their home crowd.
Denver’s Jamal Murray, who is having a great postseason, missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer that could’ve sent the game to overtime. He finished with 18 points.
The Heat were exceptional in the fourth quarter, outscoring the hosts 36-25 in the final period. Gabe Vincent led Miami with 23 points, Bam Adebayo added 21 points and nine rebounds, and Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points and nine assists, per USA Today.
Nikola Jokic finished with 41 points. Denver are now 0-3 down when the Serbian big man scored 40 or more points in the 2023 playoff.
The Nuggets supporting cast struggled all night despite a great showing in Game 1. Michael Porter Jr and Aaron Gordon combined for 17 points, down from 30 in Game 1.
Malone rips Nuggets players
After the game, Malone said his players need to realize this is the NBA Finals and not the preseason. He was concerned about his team's effort in Game 2.
"Let's talk about effort. 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," he said, via ESPN.
The Nuggets entered the fourth quarter with an 83-75 lead, but Duncan Robinson and Vincent turned the game in Miami's favor with easy points.
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Malone was not happy with that performance.
"This is not the preseason, this is not the regular season. This is the NBA Finals. That, to me, is really, really perplexing, disappointing."
The Nuggest coach wants his team to improve in Game 3.
"If we play like that, then we expect to lose like that," said Murray. "We can't play like that, if we play away, home, on the road, doesn't matter. We've got to have a better showing."
Jokic makes Finals history again
Sports Brief earlier reported on Jokic making history in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals.
He became the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his finals debut.
The big Serbian joined legendary point guard, Jason Kidd on that exclusive list in the NBA.