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Denver Nuggets Coach Mike Malone and star Nikola Jokić talk NBA Global Games

Denver Nuggets Coach Mike Malone

On the Nuggets form ahead of NBA Global Games London 2017…

London is a great city and our guys are excited to be here. This is a business trip for us, we’re here to win the game. Any time you can travel and get away as a team, it’s an opportunity to come together. To find a way to improve and start winning again. Create that bond, create chemistry, create trust. Offensively, we’ve proven to be a very efficient team. But the last 10-15 games, we’ve tried to outscore our opponents. If we want to get that eighth spot and be a playoff team, we know we what we have to. It’s black and white. Our defense has to improve on the ball, that’s where it starts – one on one. If each player can contain their man, keep the ball out of the paint, that’ll help a lot a lot. It’s not just one person, it’s everybody collectively as a team.

On the Indian Pacers…

They’re a high-powered offensive team. Paul George is kind of the leader of their team, he’s an All-Star and they have some other very talented players. We have to take the challenge of not letting them run up and down the court. We don’t want them scoring 120 plus points. We have to get defense into the game early.

On Danilo Gallinari…

He’s had a good year, he’s not practicing because lately he’s had a little injury. He’s one of our leaders, one of our more aggressive players. He’s impactful and gets to the foul line. That sets the tone for our team. When Gallo plays that way, our team takes on that persona.

On visiting Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium…

It was great visiting the Emirates Stadium and being part of the Arsenal experience. It’s a wonderful facility, we met a few of the players there. It was a great night for everybody to meet people we share a common bond with even though it’s a long way away and we’re part of the same Kroenke family. I played soccer a little bit when I grew up in New York City. They gave all the players and coaches Arsenal shirts with our names on, so I’m a big Arsenal fan now!

Denver Nuggets player Nikola Jokić

On being a European player in the NBA…

Sometimes people give you a marker if you’re a European player, like you’re just a rebounder, but I think Europeans have a lot more chances now in the NBA than back in the past. When you see that group of guys – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Jonas Valanciunas – they show if you’re big and you can run the full court, you can make a difference in the game. I just want to come here and show everybody what I can do and be the best I can be on the court to help my team mates.

On Giannis Antetokounmpo…

I played against him this summer in pre-qualification tournament matches. He’s doing the right thing, he’s starting games, doing what he wants and leading the game in a lot of ways. He’s the best player at the Milwaukee Bucks and he’s the best young man in NBA. It’s great for Europe to have a player who could be an All-Star.

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