Coach Michael Malone warns Nuggets before second clash vs. Heat: ‘I don’t think we played well in Game 1’

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Even as Denver lead the series with a Game 1 victory over the Eastern Conference champions from Miami, coach Michael Malone was not satisfied after the match and asked his squad to do everything but relax as the media are already talking about a Nuggets dominance in the beginning of the NBA Finals. 

“I don’t think we played well in Game 1,” the trainer told the press after Saturday’s practice. “I watched that tape, and they were 5-of-16 on wide-open 3’s. As I told our players this morning, the fact that they got 16 wide-open 3’s is problematic.

“And if you think that Max Strus is going to go 0-for-9 again or Duncan Robinson is going to go 1-for-5 again, you’re wrong.”

Malone went all the way to tell his players to ignore the news, as he needs them completely concentrated on improving their game.

“I told our players today, don’t read the paper,” the coach added. “Don’t listen to the folks on the radio and TV saying that this series is over and that we’ve done something, because we haven’t done a damn thing.”

There is a reason why Malone is worried about his team’s performance, as they blew up leading the Heat by double digits during many moments of the game, and even let their opponents dream of a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets coach wants complete dominance during Game 2.

During the first three quarters of the opening contest, Denver maintained a solid-defensive block as Miami could not hit shots. The Florida franchise shot 13-of-39 during this time frame, but finally improved their efficiency, dropping 50% of their attempts in the fourth. This is precisely what Malone wants to avoid.

Miami will be looking to improve their efficiency and force more attacks that should earn them free throws

“The attacks, we didn’t have enough of them,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I thought the free throw disparity was appropriate. Maybe we could have got two, four, six more based on a call here or a call there. But overall our attack numbers were lower, and that usually translates into lower free throw attempts.”

Just as Malone noted, one of their rivals best stats during Game 1 was how they improved their 11.6 wide-open average playoff attempts with 16 of them during Game 1.

Take a look at what Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley said during the preview of Game 2 this Sunday evening:

Spoelstra is surely expecting his team to increase their confidence for the following matches. “We’ve been through this before. Like, they are ignitable,” the coach said about players like Max Strus and Caleb Martin.

“They have heard it from us. They will hear it from us. I love those looks that those guys get. I love it when they see a couple, two or three go down; that can turn into five or six,” he concluded.