Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone was not impressed with his team’s performance Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Malone ripped into his team after the Nuggets’ 132-103 loss to the Clippers, saying his team was “awful” and even calling them “soft,” via Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“We were soft tonight from beginning to end. They didn’t feel us on either end. They got whatever they wanted. We couldn’t run offense because they took us out of our stuff, and we just allowed them to do it for 48 minutes. They’re a good team, but I’m just very disappointed in our competitive spirit and our effort.
“They sent a message. They came out and hit us in the mouth and we never responded, and that’s the most disappointing thing about it. We came into this game thinking it was just going to be a standard NBA game. They approached this game like something was on the line, and you could tell a difference from the jump ball all the way until the final buzzer.”
The Nuggets and Clippers have the same 40-19 record as they vie for the second spot in the Western Conference standings, but Malone clearly feels the two teams aren’t at the same level mentally. He might be able to take some heart from the fact that the Clippers have reportedly had some chemistry issues this season and it clearly didn’t impact them in this one. Perhaps Malone can use this as a wake-up call for his team.