Charles Barkley calls out Michael Malone for strategy to fire up Nuggets

Tony Nguyen | Denver Nuggets
May 14, 2024

The defending champions have woken up. Jamal Murray unveiled that it was time for the Denver Nuggets to turn the jets on. Nikola Jokic and the rest of the squad torched the Minnesota Timberwolves to even up their NBA Playoffs series at two games apiece. But, a lot of the credit had to go to Michael Malone. The head honcho pulled out all the schemes and even did something unorthodox that got his players riled up. However, that latter move was not at all liked by Charles Barkley.

The Nuggets’ odd source of spite

May 12, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone directs his team as they play the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter of game four of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
© Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Malone recently unveiled that he showed a reel of different NBA analysts counting the Nuggets out after the first two games, via NBA on TNT.

“I had an edit made… of every talking head in this country saying that the series was over, the Nuggets are done, it’s a wrap… I knew that this would maybe strike a chord,” he said in the post-game presser after the Game 4 win over the Timberwolves.

One of those statements which was apparently shown to the Nikola Jokic-led squad was made by Charles Barkley. Specifically, one where he called out the Nuggets for not being on par with their Western Conference Semifinals opponents.

“This series is a wrap. Minnesota is better than the Nuggets, no disrespect. The MVP is getting outplayed, they don’t have an advantage anywhere. I said it before the season started, ‘I don’t believe in them.’ They have changed my mind 100%. The Minnesota Timberwolves are real. They are going to sweep the Denver Nuggets. Period,” the statement by Charles Barkley said.

Charles Barkley responds

This was made nearly a week before the Nuggets got back up on their feet. Since then, Michael Malone led his squad to a 27-point blowout in Game 3. He then followed it up with a Game 4 triumph with a 115 to 107 scoreline. But, the former Most Valuable Player lashed back. He posits that the information at that time gave some water to the opinion of this series being over.

“That really was interesting that he said that… Dude, we get paid to give an opinion. If you watched those first two games, you didn’t think Denver was going to win. They act like we just pulled it out of our a** or something like we just made it up. When you watch those first two games, you’re like ‘Man, the Minnesota Timberwolves are better than the Denver Nuggets’,” the now-analyst said.

He then proceeded to blast the Nuggets head honcho after defending his comments for the Nuggets

“Now, Denver’s playing great and he wants to act like he played the tape. Man, I don’t care. You know, I always liked Mike Malone. I really liked his dad but he annoys me because he thinks ‘Hey, he won a championship and he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread… We can only go by what we saw,”

This might just be another reason for the Nuggets to blaze up. After all, Coach Malone can weaponize it such that his squad torches the Nuggets to get the commanding three-to-two series lead.