Nuggets’ Michael Malone brushes off ‘heated exchange’ with Timberwolves fans in Game 3

Tony Nguyen | Denver Nuggets
May 12, 2024

During Game 3 of the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves matchup, things got a bit tense.

In the fourth quarter, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone had a heated interaction with two Timberwolves fans in the crowd. Target Center security was seen escorting the fans away afterward. According to Malone, he didn’t ask for the two fans to be removed from the arena. He also chose not to elaborate on what exactly the fans were shouting at him.

“He didn’t like my haircut, and I told him that I like my haircut,” Malone joked in his postgame press conference. “And we just kind of went from there.”

The altercation occurred while the Nuggets were en route to blowing out the Timberwolves, 117-90.

Nuggets-Timberwolves tensions rising

This playoff series between the Nuggets and Timberwolves has been anything but civil. In Game 2, the Timberwolves’ defense was smothering, and the referees were allowing the game to be played aggressively. Frustration reached a boiling point with the Nuggets. After no whistle was blown on a Karl-Anthony Towns charge, Malone stormed over to a referee and yelled in his face. Despite the fiery exchange, Malone did not receive a technical foul.

Also during the game, Jamal Murray threw a heat pack on the court out of frustration, resulting in a $100,000 fine from the NBA.

In Game 3, Timberwolves fans decided to voice their dislike for Michael Malone and his Nuggets staff.

“That happens at times in a hostile environment, and people get a little liquid courage I guess sometimes,” Malone said. “And they think they can just say whatever they want to anybody. And I’m not allowing that to happen.”

Malone further brushed the incident off and actually ended up complimenting the Timberwolves’ home crowd.

“Listen man, these fans here are great,” Malone said. “I mean, that was an amazing atmosphere. You live for moments like that and opportunities like that, to go out there and perform when you’ve got 20,000 people screaming at you. But, unfortunately, there’s always gonna be people that want to get a little bit more involved in the game, and make it personal. And that’s unfortunate.”

Game 4 will be crucial

After the Timberwolves won the first two games in Denver, including Game 2 in blowout fashion, many left the defending champion Nuggets for dead. Denver flexed its championship muscles in Minnesota in Game 3 with the dominant victory, sending the signal that this will be a series.

With tensions continuing to rise, it’s going to be quite the atmosphere when these two teams get together next. Game 4 between the Nuggets and Timberwolves is set to tip off Sunday at 6 p.m. MT.