The coach of the Nuggets champions in the West: “Miami or Boston? We only think of ourselves. No one else has a superstar like Jokic”
The celebrations on the plane upon returning to Denver after the triumphant game 4 against the Lakers and now the great anticipation. The Nuggets know they have already made franchise history, reaching the Finals, but no one feels the least bit satisfied. The real problem for Jokic and his companions is to be able to keep the tension high in the long break that divides them from game 1 scheduled for next Thursday.
“I have to be honest – coach Michael Malone underlined during the meeting with the media – managing this break is not easy. Going nine days without playing an official match is something that never happens at this time of the season, we mustn’t let our guard down but it’s objectively difficult to be able to replicate the situations you only see in a match while you train. Losing rhythm or athletic condition would be devastating for us, so we need to be able to stay mentally on track. This team comes from a conference final played in a masterful way. I think it’s right to celebrate the goals achieved, both in sport and in life, but we know that our only goal is to win the title.”
Answer to doubts
A team that showed really impressive solidity and maturity, especially in the hottest moments of the matches, blatantly denying those who had doubts about the mental strength of Jokic and his companions. “The group is very solid – continues coach Malone – and the team has responded in the best way even in difficult moments. Now we have to be able to stay focused and disciplined, maintaining the hunger for victory even during this break that separates us from the start of the Finals. If I prefer Miami or Boston? We just have to think about ourselves. They are two extraordinary teams, the Heat with a devastating Butler and a very solid defense, Boston with the depth of its roster and with its superstars. It will be complicated against both, we will enjoy the end of their series and then we will prepare the match with the winner”.
In closing, the coach of the Western Conference champion team does not shy away from a comment on an absolutely spatial Jokic in this postseason. “I’m incredibly proud of Nikola, especially the person he is. He’s never changed, and honestly that doesn’t happen often. Success, fame and two MVPs and Nikola is the same guy I met when he came to Denver. There is no superstar as humble and selfless as Jokic.” The Finals could therefore definitively consecrate what many currently consider to be the best player in the NBA.
May 26 – 11.16pm
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