Michael Malone wants Nuggets to run, work on shot selection against Spurs
The Nuggets came into the postseason with the second-best record in the Western Conference, but they were outplayed by the seventh-seeded Spurs despite their homecourt advantage. Head coach Michael Malone told Denver Post’s Mike Singer that they allowed San Antonio to play through their strengths, adding that they should not allow their opponents to control the pace of the game.
“It was a very slow, methodical game. I think that is to the Spurs’ advantage in that regard. We have to find ways to get stops, get rebounds and get out and run and push to attack.”
The Spurs have always been known as one of the best teams when it comes to executing halfcourt sets, and that was on full display against the Nuggets. They knew that they were facing a young, athletic team in Denver, so San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich made the necessary adjustments to ensure that the game’s pace will be in their favor.
Michael Malone also said that the Nuggets will need to play better team basketball, and moving the ball is going to be the first step in making that happen.
“Another thing that jumps out was shot selection. We took a lot of questionable shots. We had 41 possessions that were zero or one-pass shots. That can’t be the case. We have to work for the best shot possible.”
The Nuggets finished Game 1 with a total of 25 assists, and while it is close to their regular season average of 27.4 dimes per game, 14 of those came from All-Star center Nikola Jokic. The rest of their starters combined for three assists and only two of their reserves (Monte Morris and Mason Plumlee) were able to record at least three.
It is clear that Denver is going up against a Spurs team filled with seasoned veterans and a legendary coach, but they can still turn things around. They have proven all season that they have what it takes to win. They will just have to do it again in the playoffs.
Game 2 of the series will be on Tuesday, April 16.