Ever the life of a press conference, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone made the hilarious remark that he’d petitioned the NBA to start the Lakers series down 3-1.
Mike Malone will get a ton of credit for leading the Nuggets past the Clippers in the Conference Semifinals. His decision to play Michael Porter Jr heavier minutes in Games 5 & 6 made a real difference to the result.
The Nuggets outplayed the Clippers in the second halves of Games 5, 6 & 7 by immense margins to take the series home. This was their second successive comeback from a 3-1 deficit this year.
Mike Malone’s joke about Nuggets coming back from 3-1 down
Malone is normally a really laidback coach. Ahead of Game 7 against the Clippers, he said he felt like Mr. Buttermaker leading the Bad News Bears to the collective amusement of the press. He’s also been quoted taking the ‘medicinal herb’ for stress relief in the past.
In the interview, he said that Nuggets have already laid out their plans in front of the league, having asked them to be 3-1 down in the series in order to overcome LeBron James and co.
Mike Malone: “We actually did petition the league to see if we could start the series down 3-1.”
— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) September 17, 2020
The Nuggets were blown out by the Jazz in 3 straight games of the first round before they made a semblance of a comeback. It took a titanic effort from both Jokic and Murray to pull them through round 1.
Murray and Donovan Mitchell had a duel for the ages, combining for the highest points total by a duo in a playoff series. Despite their win, the Nuggets got outscored by 24 points in the series.
The Clippers series was a much sweeter one for the Nuggets. Despite them being blown out in Game 1, they kept it close in Games 3 and 4. They won Games 5,6 and 7 by double digit margins to establish themselves as clear winners.
LeBron James and the Lakers will be weary of the talent that the Nuggets possess and will want to be locked in all through the series in order to prevent another ‘Nuggets extravaganza’.