In a steamy Friday afternoon session, the Denver Nuggets hit the practice court. Their NBA Finals opponents are yet to be determined, but the team remains committed to maintaining their rhythm and conditioning amidst the uncertainty.
The Struggle to Maintain Rhythm and Conditioning
Denver coach Michael Malone expressed concern about the team's rhythm, recognizing the difficulties of replicating the intensity of an NBA playoff game during practice. "It's impossible to keep your rhythm if you're not playing games," said Malone. "You can do whatever you want in practice, but there's no way you can replicate playing an NBA playoff game." Malone went on to highlight the importance of physical conditioning during this period of waiting. "You're playing every other day for so long, and now all of a sudden you have an eight-, nine-, ten-day break, whatever it is.
I wanted to make sure we got up and down, conditioned."
Focusing on the Details
Point guard Jamal Murray laid emphasis on the minutiae during the break, stressing the significance of team-wide focus on the so-called "detail stuff".
"Just our awareness, especially we need to lock in on practices for just the detail stuff," Murray shared. "Let's be on time, let's not have any turnovers, that we're doing scripts, just kind of the simple things so we're not getting sloppy just because we are where we are." It's all about mental sharpness, says Murray, who believes the team needs to keep its cognitive edge honed in anticipation of June 1, the probable start date for the Finals.
Prepping Mind and Body
While the Nuggets are taking advantage of the break to rest and recuperate, complacency isn't on the agenda. "We take the rest," Murray said. "But you don't want to pick up bad habits throughout this week.
Staying sharp, whatever it is. If we've got to flip the switch and lock in for a drill or two, let me do that. Just be able to stay locked in." The key, according to Murray, is to avoid falling into a relaxed state. "We don't want to get relaxed. I think that's the biggest thing. We don't want to relax and just wait. We want to stay sharp."
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