It’s already been a whole week since the Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals, and even though the players received some days off, they’ve return to the training courts this past weekend to get ready for their first ever opportunity to conquer the NBA title.
Derrick White’s last-second layup this Saturday kept Celtics’ season alive and forced their series against the Heat to a final Game 7 this Monday. As Boston are hoping to become the first franchise in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, the Denver team doesn’t want to lose pace.
“It’s impossible to keep your rhythm if you’re not playing games,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “You can do whatever you want in practice, but there’s no way you can replicate playing in an NBA playoff game.”
Let’s recap on the Colorado team’s past week. Last Monday they celebrated beating the Lakers on the plane ride home. The next two day the squad got time off to rest. By Thursday, they began to condition with individual drills, before officially returning to the practice floor on Friday.
“Right now, as I told our players, this is about us,” the trainer assured. “We have to shore up who we are and address the areas that we have not been maybe good enough or areas that we can clean up.”
When interviewed about their days off, some Nuggets players joked about their leisure time, as guard Bruce Brown talked about working on his golf game.
“First day of golf I played pretty well,” Brown recalled over getting two days off during the week. “The second day was terrible.”
By Friday the whole team was together again, and Brown was back in training dropping jumper shots, his specialty. The team’s first NBA Finals appearance is right around the corner, as Game 1 is already scheduled for June 1 (8:30pm ET).
The Nuggets stars know this is no time for distractions, as their main goal is to maintain a high rhythm while they await opponents
While Denver have their eyes set on this Monday’s Game 7 clash between Boston and Miami, team star Jamal Murray suggests that the only way not to loose rhythm is to keep practicing like they expect to play.
“Don’t pick up bad habits throughout this week,” he assured. “Just being able to stay locked in. You don’t want to get relaxed. I think that’s the biggest — we don’t want to relax and just wait. We want to stay sharp.”
Jamal believes that the secret to conquer the title is to maintain the intensity on the defensive side of the floor throughout the whole match. “Our defense is being played with intent,” the player said. “We’ve all been on a string.
“When we need a stop, we all lock in, even if we don’t get it, we lock in and try and get it possession-by-possession. I think that’s crucial at this stage.”
Source: Basketball Insider