Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone warned his players that although they took the lead with a dominant performance in Game 1, the series wasn’t over yet.
Nikola Jokic’s triple-double blew the mind of the Miami Heat on Thursday as the Nuggets earned a 104-93 win and a 1-0 lead in the NBA Championship Finals series.
Despite his side’s dominant performance, Malone believes there is still work to be done as he claimed they didn’t play well.
“I said to our players today: don’t read the newspaper, don’t listen to the people on the radio and TV saying that this series is over and that we did something because we didn’t do anything at all. “Malone said.
“We won Game 1. The reason I said to our players this morning that I’m excited is because we won Game 1 and we didn’t play well and there are so many things we can do better if we get those things up do a better level, we have a chance to win Game 2.”
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone warned his players that the streak wasn’t over yet
Nikola Jokic’s triple-double blew the mind of the Miami Heat as the Nuggets won Game 1 on Thursday
There are always things that can be done better. Apparently even for Jokic and Jamal Murray, believe it or not.
They joined Magic Johnson and James Worthy in 1987 and were the only teammates to have at least 25 points and 10 assists in the same Finals game – and the Nuggets duo did it in their Finals debut. Jokic hit a triple-double with 27 points, Murray finished with 26 points and the stage clearly wasn’t too big for Denver’s top two players.
Denver is also trying to be the first team since Boston in 2018 to start the postseason 10-0 at home.
“You’re just trying to win every game.” “It’s about one to four, no matter how you pull it off,” Murray said. “Of course you want to have the advantage of being at home.” I love playing at home. But any game you can win, you take. So, yes, we look forward to winning every single game we play.”
Meanwhile, the Heat made NBA history, and not in a good way, by only hitting two free throws in Game 1 when Denver struck first.
It was the fewest free-throw attempts by a team ever in a playoff game, and one of the adjustments for Sunday’s Game 2 is easy to predict: Miami is expected to go into attacking mode.
“We didn’t have enough attacks,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team sent Denver to the line for 20 free throws in Game 1.
“I found the disparity in free throws appropriate.” Maybe we could have gotten two, four, six more from a call here or there. “But overall our attack counts were lower, and that usually translates into fewer free-throw attempts.”
This is Miami’s first 1-0 deficit of the postseason. The Heat won Game 1 away in Milwaukee, New York and Boston en route to the Finals; No team had ever won four away games in the first game in the same postseason.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hinted that Miami could switch to attacking mode for Game 2 on Sunday
And while the Nuggets say – and rightly so – that they missed a lot of free throws, the Heat can certainly point to an improvement in Game 2. Max Strus (0 for 10), Caleb Martin (1 for 7) and Duncan Robinson (1 for 6) combined in Game 1 for 2 for 23 from the floor and 2 for 16 from 3-point range.
That would be the simplest and most effective adjustment Miami could make for Sunday: firing shots.
“I’m going to continue to play right.” “I’m going to pass the ball to my shooters like I’ve played all of the playoffs, all year,” said Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who scored 13 points in Game 1. his weakest point game in the playoffs so far.
“But I think I have to be more aggressive and put pressure on the rim,” he said. “I think that makes the job a lot easier for everyone.” They definitely follow suit when I’m aggressive on both sides of the ball. So I have to be the one to come out and really get this going – and I will – and we’ll see where we end up.”
The Heat will look to level the streak in Game 2 in Denver Sunday night.
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