Michael Malone’s Denver Nuggets were unable to complete the sweep on Sunday night in Minnesota, despite erasing a 12-point deficit in the final 2:52 of Game 4. Malone was not happy with his team’s play after the 114-108 overtime loss.
“The hardest thing to stomach about this game is that we were unwilling and unable to get necessary stops,” Malone said, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.
Although the Nuggets held the Timberwolves to just 16 points in the fourth quarter, Minnesota scored 18 in the five-minute extra frame, and it seemed like Denver just couldn’t get a stop when they needed it.
The Timberwolves became the first team to score more points in the first overtime period than they did in the fourth quarter of a game since the Phoenix Suns did it against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the 2006 first-round, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“We’re not going to go undefeated in the postseason,” Malone explained. “So, yeah, we lost a game, we had our chances, but we’ve got to go home and regroup and not feel sorry for ourselves and get ready to play against a team that has some life in them.”
Despite the loss, the Nuggets are still in great shape, leading the series 3-1 heading back to what figures to be a raucous crowd at Ball Arena for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
“We had an opportunity to close a series. We just didn’t,” Nikola Jokic said afterwards. “They were fighting. They were desperate. But it is what it is.”
It’s still an enormous mountain to climb for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will have to win two games in Denver if they hope to make the miraculous comeback from 3-0 down.
The odds are still very much in Michael Malone and the Denver Nuggets’ favor in their best-of-seven series.
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