Salty Nuggets change the narrative, go up 2-0 on the talked-about team
May 19, 2023, 6:24 AM | Updated: 6:38 am
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Just to check, the Nuggets lead the Western Conference Finals over the Lakers 2-0, right? They actually won the game Thursday night 108-103, correct?
It seems that we are existing in a bizarre parallel universe where a loss is a win and a win is a loss. We seemingly have stepped through the looking glass where a national broadcaster whose job it is to know the NBA is just discovering that a two-time MVP is a really good player.
“This is really the first time I’ve had a chance to watch him play, and I’ve got to admit, I have been sleeping on this guy,” Lisa Salters said about Nikola Jokic on the Rich Eisen Show. “He is spectacular, he is ridiculously good and, just, unstoppable.”
Salters then said she texted some friends about this revolutionary discovery only to get the following feedback.
“We’ve been trying to tell you that,” said Salters.
It’s easy to assume Salters on the court, postgame interview of Jamal Murray was a bit awkward. After all, if she didn’t know who Jokic was, how in the world would she ever know Murray? Perhaps it helped that he finished with a staggering 23-point fourth quarter to win the game for the Nuggets.
“For those who have seen me play before, you know that I like to reset,” slyly remarked Murray about a lousy three quarters only to be followed by a world class finish. “You know, reset my mind. (I had) a quick moment of meditation and just came out focused.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone wasn’t as subtle as Murray. The Nuggets head coach authored an epic postgame breakdown of a totally absurd situation.
“You win Game 1 of the playoffs and all anybody talked about was the Lakers,” said Malone. “Let’s be honest, that was the national narrative. ‘Hey, the Lakers are fine. They’re down 1-0, but they figured something out.’ No one talked about Nikola (Jokic) just having a historic performance.”
Malone went on to detail the significance of Jokic’s latest mind-blowing feat for those that just discovered he’s a pretty neat player.
“He’s got 13 triple doubles now, third all-time,” said Malone. “What he’s doing is just incredible, but the narrative wasn’t about the Nuggets. The narrative wasn’t about Nikola. The narrative was about the Lakers and their adjustments. So, you know, put that pipe in your mouth and smoke it. You know what, we’re gonna go up 2-0.”
I asked Malone if he thought the narrative would change after Game 2.
“I don’t care if it does, ” Malone spat out with venom. “We know our narrative in that locker room. We haven’t done anything yet. Alright, you gotta win a game on the other team’s home court if you really want to do something in the series. We know how great that team is, especially on their home court. So, we’re not celebrating. This isn’t cause for celebration. This is a cause to dig deep and find ways to be better.”
Malone defiantly concluded an epic rant targeted squarely at the media who have been beyond slow on the uptake. The absurdity of just becoming aware of the No. 1 seed in the west that has a two-time, should’ve been three-time, MVP is beyond farcical.
“Joker, for those that don’t know him, he’s got 13 playoff triple doubles now,” ripped Malone. “It’s just incredible what he continues to do on a nightly basis on the biggest stage in the world.”
Still, some don’t seem to get it.
“I don’t know if it was a spectacular game for Nikola Jokic,” ESPN postgame show host Kevin Connors stunningly said. “But then, you look at the box score and you see 23 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. It’s his seventh triple-double in this postseason. Only Wilt (Chamberlin) has done that.”
Uh, yeah Kevin, that actually is a spectacular game.
“Yeah, the outside noise is the outside noise,” rationalized Murray. “We’re the Denver Nuggets. We’re use to that. Even when we win, they talk about the other team. Same old, same old. It just give us a little more (motivation) which will make it sweeter when we win the ‘Chip.”
While Malone was spitting fire, the Nuggets players seem to have accepted the pathetic reality of Rodney Dangerfield-like disrespect.
“I think that’s how it is with most small-market teams,” said Michael Porter Jr. who had another brilliant game with four three-pointers, 16 points along and seven rebounds. “In this stage, it’s just so different. There’s probably lots of people watching these games that don’t normally watch the NBA. We don’t let that get to us. Like I’ve said before, we don’t have a lot of dudes that are into the social media thing, feeding into that plays right into our advantage being the small-market team that we are. I don’t think we mind that at all.”
Would you like to say anything to people who are just figuring out who you are?
“Nah. Nah, I don’t really care,” said MPJ with a laugh and a smile.
His most-important teammate agreed.
“It’s nothing new for us,” said Jokic.
You remember Jokic, right? Tall fellow. From Serbia. Really good at basketball. His nickname is The Joker.
“To be honest, I like it,” the big man said. “We don’t care. Whatever. If you remember, even in the bubble when we beat Utah, they were talking about how they blew the lead. When we played the Clippers, how they blew the lead not talk about how we won the games. It’s normal for us. I don’t pay attention at all.”
Remarkably, Salters was also in the bubble. It’s amazing she was too busy to catch a Nuggets game. There wasn’t all that much to do and they did play in the Western Conference Finals.
Wait… let me back up. You remember Covid, right? It was that pandemic thing that forced us all inside for the better part of two years. Covid? Remember? It’s when everybody watched “Tiger King” on Netflix. Hey, is that dude still in jail?
“We don’t need it,” continued Jokic about outside praise. “We don’t need the media attention. We’re gonna go out there and try to win the game. We can be quiet. We can not talk about it. Maybe some guys will (genuine media laughs). But I think in general, we don’t need to be talking trash. We don’t need it.”
Is there anything people should know about you?
So, the nameless, faceless, looked-down-upon, fly-over, woebegone Nuggets just won again.
But hey, the big news is the Lakers are almost 2-0!
Get out your pipe.