The Nuggets trail their first-round Western Conference series to the Warriors by a 2-games-to-0 count, and coach Michael Malone says it’s important not to fall totally apart.
“We’ve got to stick together,” Malone told reporters after the Nuggets’ Game 2 road loss. “We can’t splinter in adverse times.
“I just want to make sure as we get on this plane to go home that we get on that plane together, knowing that we have a chance to get our first win at home in a few days. That’s our whole focus.”
For the second time in two games, the Nuggets took a lead, only to collapse in the second half. Along the way, Nuggets guard/forward Will Barton and center DeMarcus Cousins were involved in a heated exchange on the sideline. Barton had to be restrained.
“We’re getting our ass whupped and a lot of emotions flare up,” Nuggets guard Monte Morris said. “We’ve just got to be tougher and stay together. We’re not giving ourselves a chance to beat this team with a lot of mistakes.
“And also, we’ve got no f—ing chance if we’re going to be apart. We’ve got to stay locked in, stay together.”
Meanwhile, Barton downplayed the dustup with Cousins.
“Nothing, just some goofy s—,” Barton said when asked what happened. “Just some goofy s— that happened on the bench that I shouldn’t entertain. I can’t let that happen in the series, in the playoffs, in the game. I’ve got to be better than that.”
Along with all that, Nuggets center and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic was ejected in the fourth quarter with the Warriors holding down a 109-89 lead.
“I feel his frustration,” Malone said. “I think he’s getting fouled like he thinks he’s getting fouled. He’s not getting the call. But he has to find a way to play through that. He’s way too valuable.”
Morris added that the Nuggets have to start playing with a sense of pride, as the series shifts to Denver for two games.
“If not, this s— will be over quick, just the way they play,:” he said. “They’re together. They’re all bought in. They’re out there laughing, dancing around. S—‘s embarrassing.”
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