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Michael Malone is tried of the disrespect.
And after the Denver Nuggets went up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers, he was ready to let the world know about it.
Following Game 1, a lot of the narrative surrounded the Lakers’ strong performance toward the end of the game instead of Nikola Jokić’s historic 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists in the Nuggets’ win.
Malone was ready to set the record straight after Game 2.
“The national narrative [after Game 1] was, ‘Hey, the Lakers are fine,’” Malone said in his postgame press conference. “… No one talked about Nikola just had a historic performance. … The narrative wasn’t about the Nuggets. The narrative wasn’t about Nikola. … You put that in your pipe, you smoke it. And you come back, and you know what, we’re gonna go up 2-0.”
He was especially ready to go to bat for Jokić, who often gets overlooked by the national media due to a lack of exposure. ESPN’s Lisa Salters admitted Tuesday’s Game 1 was her first time watching the two-time MVP play.
“I gotta admit, I’ve been sleeping on this guy,” Salters said while appearing on The Rich Eisen Show.
Malone had a couple of jokes in store for those not too familiar with Jokić’s game.
“Nikola Jokić, for those who don’t know him, he’s got 13 triple-doubles in these playoffs now,” he said.
Denver’s Game 2 win was perhaps even more impressive than Game 1 considering that it had to comeback from a double-digit deficit in the second half to pull it out.
It was Jamal Murray’s game-high 37 points that led the way. He hit several huge shots down the stretch to help the Nuggets take a 2-0 series lead to Los Angeles.
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