Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone blasted his team after a Game 2 loss to the Phoenix Suns as he said his guys "quit." The Nuggets lost Game 1 but didn't come out with sense of urgency as the Suns won Game 2 123-98 to take a comfortable 2-0 lead in the series.
"I felt we quit tonight, which is something you never want to see," Malone said. "So I guess for Game 3, I'm just going to try to find guys that will at least go out there and leave it all on the line. I may have a hard time coming up with five guys that fill that, but these two games, these second halves have really been disappointing, and that's an understatement.
"I saw one team that wanted to be here, that played with a purpose and urgency, and one team that did not want to be here and played with no urgency. And that's why we got our ass kicked. ... We had a lot of guys play really bad tonight.
And then we allowed the impact of not making the shot to affect the other end, and it was really -- this was just an embarrassing performance all the way around, top to bottom."
NBA MVP Nikola Jokic disagreed with his coach
"I don't think so that guys quit," Jokic said.
"When you're losing a lot, you can always kind of put your head down. ... But I'm not sure that we quit. I didn't quit." Meanwhile, Will Barton said: "I won't get into it, but some things were definitely said, some things that needed to be said, but all that is irrelevant.
We got to go on the court, Game 3, and play like we know how we need to play and win." Malone pointed out Barton's performance after the game. Barton finished with 10 points in 16 minutes. "That was probably the only silver lining to a really rough night all the way around, was Will Barton, who hasn't played in over seven weeks, in his first game goes out there, gives you 10 and three ...
and he hated me when I took him out because he had reached his minute restriction, I understand that," Malone said. "I just told our players it's embarrassing that a guy that hasn't been able to play for seven weeks was out there leaving it all on the line, and I don't think anybody else did."