Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone took a brutal shot at Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell on Tuesday evening.
Shortly after his crew secured a 132-126 victory of their Sport 1 Western Convention Finals showdown, Malone stepped to the rostrum to handle the media.
One of many questions he tackled was the Nuggets’ protection on Russell.
Malone didn’t mince phrases.
“I felt we did an ideal job on D’Angelo Russell,” he mentioned.
“So nice that he wasn’t even within the sport a lot within the second half.”
Whereas Malone’s evaluation of Russell was tough, it wasn’t inaccurate.
The Lakers guard struggled mightily for the day. He completed with eight factors on 4-of-11 capturing. He additionally missed all three of his photographs from past the arc and recorded a mere three assists.
Russell additionally wasn’t nice defensively, which allowed Bruce Brown Jr. to attain 16 factors in 24 minutes.
Afterwards, Brown too fired a jab at Russell.
“He’s not the perfect defender, so we needed to make it robust on him,” he mentioned, per ‘The Athletic’ NBA insider Tony Jones.
Bruce Brown mentioned the Nuggets’ aim was to assault D’Angelo Russell defensively on each possession.
“He’s not the perfect defender, so we needed to make it robust on him”
— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) May 17, 2023
Between his ineffectiveness on each the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, some have puzzled if maybe L.A. can be higher off benching Russell on this sequence.
Sadly, that isn’t actually an possibility in the meanwhile. In line with ESPN NBA insider Dave McMenamin, “there may be concern the crew might ‘lose’ the 27-year-old level guard if he views the adjustment as a demotion after beginning each different sport this postseason.”
So the place does that depart the Lakers, notably given what a sizzling matter Russell’s future with the group has been? It’s unclear.
The video speaks for itself. https://t.co/YDNyr72NV2
— Sport 7 (@game7__) May 17, 2023
Clearly one dangerous sport isn’t one thing to overreact to, particularly given how essential of a task Russell has performed within the crew’s resurgence post-NBA Commerce Deadline.
That being mentioned, the Nuggets are usually not the Golden State Warriors. They aren’t a small crew. And it’d behoove Los Angeles to trot out a much bigger lineup than the three-guard unit they tried in Sport 1.
Both means, the Nuggets made it clear on Tuesday evening that they plan to go after Russell laborious. How will he reply when it’s all mentioned and carried out? Time will inform.
Associated: Malika Andrews’ 2023 NBA Draft Take Sparks Controversy (Video)