Following a sweep of the Lakers in the conference finals, the Nuggets are basking in the glow of their first-ever NBA Finals appearance. As they eagerly await their opponents, head coach Michael Malone has been meticulously studying both the Heat and the Celtics, leaving no stone unturned in his preparation.
“We have two coaches, one working on Boston, one working on Miami. We’ve been talking about both teams every day,” Malone shared, emphasizing the thoroughness of their analysis and the team’s dedication to gaining a comprehensive understanding of their potential adversaries.
When discussing the Miami Heat, Malone acknowledged their impressive postseason journey, noting their play-in success, their stunning upset of the Bucks in the first round, and their victories over the Knicks in the second round. Coach Erik Spoelstra’s championship pedigree and Jimmy Butler’s exceptional performances were also highlighted by Malone.
Malone emphasized the depth and resilience of the Heat, pointing out the contributions of role players such as Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, and Kyle Lowry. Malone highlighted the collective effort and the ability of the Miami’s roster to step up on any given night.
“If it’s Miami, that series is going to be hard fought,” he said. “Very good defensive team and with a guy in Jimmy Butler that has shown that kind of like Nikola [Jokic] and Jamal [Murray] at the biggest stage he takes advantage of the opportunity.”
Shifting his focus to the Celtics, Malone acknowledged their recent NBA Finals appearance and praised the talents of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, highlighting their ability to impact the game individually. He also emphasized the importance of the Celtics’ supporting cast, including Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon, and Robert Williams.
Regardless of the opponent, Malone emphasized the challenge that lies ahead for the Nuggets. “No matter who it is, we know that we’ll have our hands full trying to bring home the first championship in franchise history,” he affirmed with determination.