NBA

'It's a failure, not fatal' - Malone rallies Nuggets after Wolves defeat

By Sports Desk May 20, 2024

Michael Malone reflects on a hard end to the season after the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a historic comeback to beat the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets let a 20-point lead slip in the third quarter at home to lose 98-90 in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals as the Timberwolves denied them a chance at a second straight league title.

Minnesota trailed 53-38 at half-time – the largest deficit a Game 7 winner has overcome in NBA post-season history.

Asked what went wrong in the second half, Malone did not have too many answers.

"That's what's hard," Malone said. "F*** being up 20. Season's over. It's hard."

"This is just a momentary delay. It's a failure, it's not fatal. We'll be back.

"The better team won, so I'm taking nothing away from Minnesota ... but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They're dead tired.

"They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that's why as much as this hurts, I'll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high."

Denver dropped the first two games of the series at home but won the next three to get themselves back on track to challenge for a repeat NBA title.

Jamal Murray scored 35 points for the Nuggets, while Nikola Jokic added 34, but the former thinks the team were just lacking an edge at the end of the game.

"Just mentally and physically, conjuring up the energy to fight like you're being hunted," Murray said. "I think that's the emotion.

"When you're the hunter, you have so much more motivation and you grasp on to anything to prove everybody wrong and you have a constant chip on your shoulder.

"I don't know. I feel like we should have won tonight. That's the tough part. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself, so it's just tough, man."

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