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Malone: “Jokic sometimes gets down on himself and says, I’m not a good defender.”

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Denver Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone discusses his team’s strong start on the defensive end following Friday’s practice

Indiana Pacers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Denver Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone spoke with the media following Friday morning’s practice, a little more than 24 hours before the team’s home opener against the Phoenix Suns. The Nuggets are fresh off of a win in their first game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers, a win that came in a fashion that suits Malone just fine. They were tough, resilient, and relentless on the defensive end. It bought them a road win, something they accomplished just 15 times last season.

Malone complimented the team’s efforts as a whole as he stood before the media, but of course, as most discussions on Denver’s defense do, this one turned to the performance of Nikola Jokic.

“It thought he was great,” Malone told the media following Friday’s practice. “He sometimes gets down on himself and says, “Oh, I’m not a good defender.” And I said, you were terrific the another night. You could do that every single night, and he agreed. He said, “I actually think I played good defense the other night.”

While Denver failed to display their beautiful brand of basketball on the offensive end, they showed heart and a focus on the defensive end that was painfully absent in the 2017-18 campaign. It was enough to earn them their first win of the season and they’ll be tested again by the Devin Booker-led Suns on Saturday night.

Watch the full scrum below: