The Nuggets claim respect with their first-ever NBA Finals win


Michael Malone is fed up.

I’m tired of Denver Nuggets Underrated despite having the best record in the Western Conference (53-29).

He is upset that members of the media now only see MVP twice Nikola Jokic for the first time.

After the Nuggets took a 2-0 lead over The Los Angeles Lakers In the Western Conference Finals, he was asked if his team had a chip on its shoulder — and it didn’t hold back.

You win game 1 of [Western Conference Finals]After the Nuggets’ 108-103 win on Thursday, Malone said, all everyone talked about was the Lakers. “Let’s be honest, that was the national narrative. [It] It was, hey, the Lakers are okay. They trailed 1-0, but they figured something out.

“Nobody was talking about Nicola just putting in a historic performance. He’s now got 13 triple-doubles, third all-time. What he’s doing is unbelievable. But the narrative wasn’t about the Nuggets, it wasn’t about Nicola. The narrative was about the Lakers and their adjustments.”

“You put that in your gal, smoke it, come back, and you know what, we’ll go up, 2-0,”

That’s exactly what the Nuggets did by defeating the Lakers in Game Two, 108-103. Malone is tired of being disrespected. His frustration had been building over the past seven years at the helm of the Nuggets.

In 2020, the Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome two 3-1 series deficits in the same postseason against Utah Jazz and Los Angeles clippers to reach the conference finals. But many members of the Nuggets felt that instead of getting the recognition they deserved, all attention was being given to the downfall of other teams.

Then, this postseason, the fourth seed Phoenix Suns The 140 was favorite to beat the higher-seeded Nuggets in the second round, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. And when the Nuggets prevailed in six games anyway, more attention was paid to the failure of the Suns than to the success of the Nuggets.

Now, the series against the Lakers is only intensifying the Nuggets’ feelings of being ignored.

The Lakers are the 17-time champions of the NBA. They have the league’s face on their roster in LeBron James. They are arguably under the greatest microscope of any team in the league, with celebrity personalities sitting courtside on any given night.

To put things into perspective: Going into the season, the Lakers were scheduled to have 27 nationally televised games on ESPN, TNT, or ABC, while the Nuggets had 16.

Bruce Brown He didn’t hesitate when asked why he thought the Nuggets were underestimated. He said, “No one is watching us.” “for this reason.”

But now that they’re playing for the Lakers, all eyes are on the Nuggets — and many are witnessing Jokic’s greatness for the first time.

After the first game, ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters said of Jokic: “I’ve never seen him play. I’ve never played a game here in Denver. It’s been at least 10 years. I probably played a game for them in the bubble. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to watch him.” And he’s playing.”

There are many similar examples in recent days.

ESPN analyst and former NBA player and coach Mark Jackson forgot to put Nikola Jokic on the MVP ballot, something he admitted was “an absolute mistake.” (Of the 100 members of the media who voted for the award, Jackson was the only one not to include Jokic in the top five.)

On ESPN’s nationally featured radio show, the Keyshawn, JWill and Max Show, after Jay Williams said Jokic had proven he was “the best basketball player”, Keyshawn Johnson admitted he “had to ‘watch the Nuggets’ because they were playing the Lakers”, Adding that “Usually when the Denver Nuggets play, it’s a drive-in for me.”

And even after the Nuggets led by as many as 21 points in Game 1 of the Conference Finals, Shaquille O’Neal said on TNT that the Lakers would win Game 2, “Guarantee it. Secure it!” he exclaimed sure.

You can imagine Malone getting angry when he hears all this.

This may be why he, completely unimpressed, brought Jokic up at his post-game press conference after game two, saying, “Joker, for those who don’t know him, he’s got a 13-game triple-doubles playoff now.”

Likewise, Malone’s pre-game press conference was heated.

He took a national address shot after the first game rolled around Roy Hashimura Jokic helped conserve three points, two rebounds and two assists in the fourth quarter, instead of Jokic finishing with 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists in the Nuggets’ 132-126 victory.

Prior to game two, Malone said it was the first time he’d been up 1–0 in a series, and that “it was over in everyone’s eyes because they put Roy on Nikola Jokic for six possessions.”

Funny enough, the guy who seems completely unfazed by all this gossip is the guy who’s at the center of it.

When Jokic was asked Thursday how he feels about his team flying under the radar and the people he admits are watching him now, he wasn’t fazed.

“Since we’re making the playoffs like this, nothing new for us,” said Jokic, who had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists in Game 2. “Honestly, I like it. We don’t care. Whatever.”

“…even in the bubble when we beat Utah, they were talking about how they are out in the lead. When we beat the Clippers, how are they losing the lead. Nobody talks about how we won the game. It’s normal for us. Honestly, I don’t care at all “.

It was interesting to hear Jokic say he likes to be in the shadows. When asked to explain why he feels this way, he says he is focused on the task at hand, not hoopla about it.

“We don’t need the media’s attention,” Jokic said. “…we’re going to go out there and try to win the game. We’re going to keep quiet. We’re not going to talk about it. Maybe some guys will, but I think [not] Generally,

There is one thing that is not debatable.

The Nuggets are now two wins away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise’s 55-year history.

They force the world to watch them. Jokic’s appreciation. To note their enormous talent.

They know if they win six more games, the whole story changes. And meanwhile, they use all the so-called disrespect as motivation.

“External noise is external noise.” Jamal Murray He said. “We’re Denver Nuggets; we’re used to it. Even when we win, they talk about the other team.”

“…same old, same old. It fuels us up a little bit more – and it’ll be a little sweeter when we win the chip.”

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times, Bay Area News Group, and San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @Melissarohlen.

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