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Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets have pulled off back-to-back comebacks from 3-1 down. Most of the credit for this goes to head coach Mike Malone, who has adjusted to weapons thrown at him against both Utah and now the Clippers. While the mighty Lakers await them, there is a genuine belief in Denver’s abilities to upset them.

The star center for the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, spoke to the media after the game and revealed that the game was also a birthday present for head coach Mike Malone.

‘I am going to get you home or I’m going to get you a Western Conference Finals.’

Jokic on what he was getting his HC Mike Malone for his birthday yesterday. ????

(????: @NBATV)

— theScore (@theScore) September 16, 2020

“No no, I gave him the Western Conference Finals. Before the game, I told him coach I have a really good present. I’m gonna get you home or I’m gonna get you to the Western Conference Finals.”

So, is it win-win situation for Malone? Either he gets a Conference finals trophy or he’d get to go home and be with his family. Malone is among the most vocal critic of NBA’s rule to not allow a coach to bring family members.

Nikola Jokic and his chances of upsetting the LA Lakers Sep 15, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jokic has dominated in the Playoffs. He came into the bubble in great shape but was prone to the occasional slow start. However, he has taken up the responsibility of being the consistent scorer that Denver can rely on. Jamal Murray is prone to being streaky, and Michael Porter Jr. is too young. Jokic is the only one that is a viable scoring threat and also possibly the best distributor on the team.

However, the Lakers aren’t built like the Clippers. They have a lot of size to rough up Jokic. Anthony Davis is one of the best defenders in the league, and he won’t allow Jokic to have triple-doubles in three quarters. However, his movement and passing could be the kryptonite for this Lakers team.

The issue Denver has is that the Lakers have optimum matchups in each situation. Jokic doesn’t have the defensive prowess to stop AD consistently. LeBron James may look to match up with either Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr., with either option being a possible defensive liability.

However, this Denver team under the coaching of Mike Malone has proven one thing. One can never count them out. With the versatility that Jokic is showing, along with the aggressive scoring of the rest of the Denver team, the Lakers may have a very challenging series ahead of them.

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Tags: nikola jokic mike malone

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Ex Nuggets PG Makes Strong Statement About Lakers Chances Against Denver

Getty LeBron James, Lakers, agrees with Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets are currently dueling out in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.

Million Dollar Question: Can the Nuggets beat the Lakers?

“I’m not putting nothing past them,” Utah Jazz guard, Emmanuel Mudiay told me along with his brother, Jean-Michel Mudiay on the Heavy Live with Scoop B Show.

Mudiay appeared on the show while also promoting his nonprofit Emmanuel Mudiay Foundation, which focuses on the uplifting single parents and childeren and feeding coommunities across the globe.

LIVE with Emmanuel MudiayUtah Jazz star Emmanuel Mudiay and his brother Jean-Michael Mudiay join Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson to talk about the ongoing NBA conference finals, the upcoming NBA offseason, and more.2020-09-21T21:18:36Z

“Everybody was thinking that the Clippers were going to go ahead and do their thing to them,” Emmanuel Mudiay said referring to the Nuggets.

“But, and the reason why I say this is because I know those guys personally. Like, if I didn’t know ‘em, I would’ve been like whatever. But I know them and I know the drive that they have. I know that they wanna win and like, they’re going to play hard regardless.”

The winner between the Lakers and the Nuggets will head to the NBA Finals and will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers currently hold a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series, a former Nuggets himself, Mudiay gave his assessment on how the Nuggets can get back into the series. “I don’t doubt the confidence at all,” he told Heavy Live With Scoop B.

Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (Getty)

“I think it’s more about locking in more and paying attention to details.”

Which leads to the final play of Game 2 when Anthony Davis hit the game winner with 2.1 seconds remaining.

“I think that they were trying to switch everything,” said Mudiay.

“But Mason and Jerami were so locked in on LeBron that AD snuck in and got wide open; that’s how he got the shot and I don’t know exactly what Mike Malone told them to do but, Mason could’ve probably kept going with AD because LeBron didn’t set the screen. But it’s like I said, paying attention to details and the game plan.”

How do the Lakers close this thing out?

“If I’m the Lakers, you’re up 2-0,” he said.

“You can’t relax. You know what I mean? Like, with those guys. Every team has been up on Denver including us — been up on Denver and they’ve always come back, so somebody has to figure out a way like, ‘Okay. We go up 5 or 10, we gotta make that 15 or 20. Like, we can’t let them keep getting energy and little stuff like this to get them going…’ so I think — and everybody knows just being in and out, everybody knows exactly what’s coming… you KNOW Jokic is going to have the ball, you KNOW Murray is going to have the ball; you KNOW ‘Bron and AD are going to have the ball, but now it’s other people stepping up even if those guys have an off game, just other people stepping up and coming up big.”

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