NBA

Malone: Complacent Nuggets in 'chill mode' and have become 'soft with success'

By Sports Desk March 15, 2023

Michael Malone suggested complacency is behind the Denver Nuggets' four-game losing streak.

The Nuggets went down 125-110 to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, and are now winless since March 6.

Denver are still hold a four-game lead at the top of the Western Conference, with a 46-23 record for the season, but coach Malone is far from happy.

"Right now we're just in chill mode," said Malone. "And you can't be in chill mode with 13 games to go in the season.

"We've got to try to find a way to get our swagger back. Maybe we've gotten a little soft with success.

"We've been on cruise control for so long, number one in the West since like December 15.

"I just told our players we've gotten away from who we are."

Denver never led on Tuesday after allowing 49 points in the first quarter, going on to concede at least 100 points for the fifth consecutive game. Indeed, they have conceded over 120 in each of their past three games.

"We just dug too much of a big hole and couldn't climb the mountain from there," said Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.

Toronto led 88-64 after Pascal Siakam found the net with eight minutes remaining in the third, before Denver went on a run to cut the gap to 98-92, but they struggled to maintain that momentum in the final quarter.

Malone added: "When you expend so much energy getting back in the game you have nothing left to finish."

The Nuggets remain on the road for their next four games starting with Detroit Pistons (16-54) on Thursday, before a home meeting against the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (50-19) on March 26.

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