The friendships between Mike Malone’s Nuggets and Erik Spoelstra’s Heat began at the end of Game 7 between Boston and Miami. Pending the first game of the NBA Finals this Thursday evening, the two camps will notably bow to the little game of the balance of power and whoever will have the most pressure on their shoulders.
On the one hand, Denver, which dominated the Western Conference in the regular season and offered a “sweep” in the conference final. On the other, Miami, which is the first NBA finalist to come out of the “play-in”, and the second team in history (after the Knicks in 1999) to reach the last step after finishing 8th in its conference.
Ranking doesn’t matter anymore
The first reading would therefore tend to designate Denver as the big favourite, and this is moreover what the Las Vegas bookmakers are doing, which Mike Malone set out to dismantle on Tuesday during his press conference, estimating that the Floridians’ run in the playoffs was worth much more than its ranking in the regular season.
“When you arrive at the NBA Finals stadium, it’s no longer a question of rankings. And for those who think it’s going to be an easy series, I don’t even know what to say”, he said after training. “It’s going to be the biggest challenge of our lives. It’s the NBA Finals. We’re trying to win the first NBA title in our history, and it’s going to be the hardest thing we’ve ever done. And that’s how it should be.”
Mike Malone continued his operation by placing Jimmy Butler as public enemy number 1, the one through whom the danger will come, by his talent but also by his behavior, his leadership and his ability to never give up, he who had declared after the Conference Finals Game 7 home loss to Boston a year ago: “We will come back to the same stage of the competition, and we will finish the job”.
The Heat, a team that never gives up
“When I look at Jimmy Butler, what differentiates him from most players is his motivation, the competitive spirit that inhabits him, this aggressiveness that never goes away. It was really cool to see the press conference last year when they lost and how everything he said then came to fruition a year later, and he brought that team back in Finals »he added, always with a view to removing pressure from the shoulders of his players to place it on those of his next opponents. “But he is a player of great moments. He is not scared. He’s a badass. He is relentless and he is a warrior”.
Same thing for Aaron Gordon, who understood the meaning of this posture of humility adopted by his coach, above all not to titillate the ego of an opponent who has just left Milwaukee, New York and Boston without home advantage. and is preparing to approach the clash against Denver with the same appetite.
“We have the greatest respect for them. They fight, they struggle and they never give up. They play 48 minutes per game and more if necessary. They are not afraid of anything. They are disciplined. They are well trained and have guys who have been there before and some who are vengeful. We are not interested in the classification or the history that surrounds it. This is a very talented, professional team, and all of these guys have talent. So we respect them.” thus concluded the winger.
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|Bruce Brown, Jr.||80||28.5||48.3||35.8||75.8||0.8||3.3||4.1||3.4||1.5||1.1||0.6||2.4||11.5|