Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray admitted they were tired in Game 1 and that was the main reason behind their 23-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets were trailing the Jazz 3-1 before they won three games in a row to steal the series and make the Western Conference semifinals.
After easily dropping Game 1 against the Clippers, the Nuggets performed much better in Game 2 as they won 110-101 to even the series at one-game apiece. "Game 1, we were tired. Hate to admit it," Murray said in his postgame TNT interview, per ESPN.
Murray scored a game-high 27 points and also dished out six assists to help the Nuggets beat the Clippers in Game 2. "Our energy, we had good energy," Murray said when asked what he saw as the biggest change between games.
"We talked more, we helped out more, our one-on-one defense was better. We made shots. There wasn't a big difference between Game 1 and Game 2. We just made shots and came out with the right energy."
Nuggets coach Mike Malone saw a more fresh Murray in Game 2
"I thought tonight we were a noticeably different team than we were in Game 1," Malone said.
"Our defense, our activity and the fact that we were willing to help each other. "You could tell Jamal was much more rested tonight than in Game 1," Malone said. Coach Malone wanted his team to stay very active on the offensive side and never allow the Clippers to settle down on the defensive side.
"The big point of emphasis coming out of Game 1 was as the game wore on, we stood, the ball didn't move, the bodies didn't move. We just came down and settled," Malone said. "We didn't make their defense work at all.
"I felt tonight there was a marked difference in our approach, our energy, our movement. And we made ourselves a lot harder to guard." The Nuggets showed a lot of courage and spirit in the first round when they recovered from a 3-1 deficit against the Jazz.
"We've won a lot of close games over the last five years," Malone said. "Our group believes in themselves. We've shown we're a resilient group that can execute and find ways to win in close games down the stretch. It's great to be able to tie the series up and have that life and belief going into the next game."