Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
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Nuggets Coach Mike Malone calls out his players for playing ‘soft’

The Denver Nuggets let an opportunity to secure a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Portland Trail Blazers after falling flat in Game 4.

After the loss, head coach Michael Malones called out the Nuggets’ starters for their porous play.

“Our starters were awful,” he said via ESPN. “I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft … we’re going to have to be a lot better going home.”


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The Nuggets struggled to keep up with the Trail Blazers, falling behind double-digits in the first half. Portland stepped added to that margin in the final two quarters, pushing it to as much as a 33-point lead.

The Trail Blazers dictated the tempo of the game that the Nuggets didn’t match. Denver’s starters were outscored 49-26, along with shooting 30 percent from the floor. Meanwhile, Portland shot 65 percent from the floor.

The lackluster effort has presented the Trail Blazers with the opportunity to pull out the series. The Nuggets performed well this year at home, holding a 25-11 record in the regular season.


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However, Portland pulled out a convincing Game 1 win behind a double-double performance from star guard Damian Lillard with a game-high 34 points and 13 assists.

The Nuggets will need much more than Nikola Jokic to push them forward. Jokic has dominated the series offensively, averaging 31.0 points per game, but hasn’t been as significant as a passer (3.0 assists).

Despite that, Denver holds the opportunity to recapture control of the series with a Game 5 win.

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