Nuggets coach Michael Malone says he’s not ‘stupid’ to think that Thunder will be an easy playoff matchup
The Denver Nuggets swept the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, but Denver head coach Michael Malone doesn’t think that matters if the two teams meet in the 2019 playoffs.
The Nuggets and Thunder could face off in the first round of the postseason. Many believe Denver would easily defeat OKC since they had so much success against them in the regular-season.
Michael Malone, however, isn’t thinking that way, per Royce Young of ESPN:
Mike Malone on sweeping OKC this season and possibly seeing them in the first round: "I'm not thinking in my head, 'OKC is an easy matchup because we swept them.' I'm not that stupid."
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 30, 2019
Only power forward Paul Millsap and shooting guard Will Barton have playoff experience from the Nuggets’ starting lineup.
Meanwhile, the entire Thunder team has played in the postseason a bevy of times. That type of stuff matters in the playoffs since the game slows down and becomes more half-court oriented.
The Nuggets have one star in center Nikola Jokic. The Thunder have two: Small forward Paul George and point guard Russell Westbrook. Denver is a better team than OKC, but no one in the Mile High City wants to see the Thunder in the first-round.
Denver hasn’t played in the playoffs since 2013. Whether players on Denver want to admit it or not, they will be nervous when the ball goes up in that first playoff game, especially guys like Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray.