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Michael Malone Seethes In Anger, Gets Punished By NBA Refs At Game 5 vs Wolves

Published 05/14/2024, 11:30 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

After taking care of business in Minnesota, winning two games, and bringing the series back to even ground, the Denver Nuggets are back in Ball Arena playing in front of their fans. As expected, it didn’t take much time for things to get heated on the court as the defending Champions faced the Timberwolves for the fifth time. And amid the heated playoff battle, a controversial blow by Rudy Gobert to Justin Holiday, which got no attention from the officials led to an outrage by Michael Malone and a severe penalty for the Nuggets head coach.

As both teams opened the second quarter after a close first one, the Nuggets decided to go small which led to Gobert posting up against a 6’6 Holiday. Realizing the mismatch, the seven-footer spun around and delivered a nasty elbow to Holiday’s midsection, sending him straight to the ground. However, despite Gobert clearly extending his elbow, the officials did not call an offensive foul on him and the DPOY got an easy dunk. The officials’ decision left Michael Malone enraged as he walked to the court yelling and complaining about the no-call.

Then, the official having had enough of Malone, gave him his first technical foul of the night while the coach continued to chirp at the official demanding a foul.

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As a result of the technical foul on Malone, the Timberwolves got a free-throw which Anthony Edwards knocked down with ease. Moreover, the three-point turnaround helped Minnesota get a three-point lead over Denver, which could prove crucial later.

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Even though Malone got a technical foul for his outrage, his actions could help plant a seed in the officials’ minds to look for similar fouls later in the game, as Minnesota will likely try to play more inside the paint and utilize their length.

The Nuggets hold their ground despite officials’ controversial decision

Although Michael Malone and the rest of the Nuggets were upset about the officials’ decision, they did not have much time to ponder on it and quickly resumed play. Despite going down by three points after that play, the defending Champs bounced back brilliantly and ended up outscoring their opponents by four points in the second quarter. Looking like an MVP and definitely playing like one, Nikola Jokic dominated in the first half and scored nineteen points to help his team gain a six-point lead at the half.

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Even The Joker’s supporting cast did a great job of keeping the offense flowing throughout the half as five other players on the squad ended up scoring multiple points in the first period, and also helping Jokic’s assist tally get to eight. More importantly, regardless of having a small lineup in the second quarter, Denver was not threatened by Minnesota’s big men and held their lead throughout. Only KAT and Alexander-Walker were the two players in double digits for the Wolves in the first period. Meanwhile, Anthony Edwards had a terrible first-half performance, scoring only five points despite spending twenty-two minutes on the floor.

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If the Nuggets can continue their dominance for another twenty-four minutes, they will soon find themselves back in a commanding position in this series, with a one-game lead after tonight. But for that, they will need to execute their plan and not lose their temper like Michael Malone did in the first half, giving the opponents easy points.

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Written by:

Rohan Bhaunt

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Rohan Singh Bhaunt, an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports, boasts a background as a divisional basketball player and an NBA enthusiast spanning over a decade. His extensive knowledge of the sport enables him to intricately explore its nuances, presenting a fresh outlook. Rohan's dive into the NBA NewsDesk at ES commenced with witnessing LeBron James secure his inaugural championship in Miami.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz