Michael Malone press conference: Nuggets coach boils over at ‘stupid ass questions’ after Game 7 loss

The Nuggets’ defense of their 2023 title ended Sunday in the team’s 98-90 loss to the Timberwolves in Game 7 of their NBA Playoffs series.

Denver’s defeat was historic. The Nuggets led by as many as 20 points after a dominant first half but scored just 37 points after intermission against a stifling Minnesota defense.

That allowed the Timberwolves to complete the largest comeback in NBA Game 7 history and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2004.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone appeared to take the loss particularly hard. During his postgame news conference, he demonstrated plenty of frustration while lamenting his team’s inability to close out a Game 7 that star guard Jamal Murray said he felt the team “should have won.”

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Michael Malone press conference

Malone’s frustration boiled over when questioned by a reporter about the Timberwolves’ comeback.

“How hard is it just to absorb a loss like this after going ahead by 20?” the reporter asked.

“Next question man,” Malone responded, despondently. “The season’s over. That’s what’s hard. F— being up 20. The season’s over. You don’t understand that. The season’s over. It’s hard. Stupid ass questions.”

Malone directing his vexation at the reporter may have been misguided, but it’s easy to understand why the 52-year-old coach was frustrated.

The Nuggets allowed a 15-point halftime lead to evaporate almost instantly in the third quarter. Minnesota doubled Denver’s scoring output in that frame, winning it 28-14 to make the contest a one-point game heading into the fourth quarter.

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Additionally, the Nuggets got the output needed from their stars to win the game. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 69 of the team’s 90 points. The team’s role players simply couldn’t hit their stride, going a combined 8 of 28 for 21 points. Only five of those points came off the bench, as Denver’s second unit logged just 34 minutes played in the do-or-die game.

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While Malone lashed out briefly, he collected himself and acknowledged the Nuggets’ loss — albeit painful — was just a small setback for the squad.

“This is just a momentary delay,” Malone said, per ESPN. “It’s a failure, it’s not fatal. We’ll be back.

“The better team won, so I’m taking nothing away from Minnesota … but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They’re dead tired. They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that’s why as much as this hurts, I’ll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high.”

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