National Basketball Association
Denver at Miami
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, March 19, 2018
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone ripped into his team after it opened a crucial road trip with a loss to the team with the worst record in the NBA. Malone hopes his words can translate to action when the Nuggets continue the seven-game voyage with a visit to the Miami Heat on Monday.
"Our starting group did an awful job of starting the game with any real sense of urgency, and we built ourselves a 21-point hole on the road," Malone told reporters after his team fell behind 34-17 after one quarter en route to a seven-point loss at Memphis, which had dropped its previous 19 games. Malone questioned the overall effort of his team, which has dropped six of 11 to sink 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference entering Sunday's play and is 11-22 on the road. The Heat are also fighting for one of the final playoff seeds in the East but have a significant cushion over any other contenders as they come down the stretch run. Goran Dragic's late jumper lifted Miami to a 92-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday and his team has a 6 1/2-game lead over ninth-place Detroit with 12 to play.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), FS Sun (Miami)ABOUT THE NUGGETS (38-32):
Denver is 2-3 without leading scorer Gary Harris this season and he is expected to miss a few more games as he deals with a knee injury. Jamal Murray and Will Barton are often strong candidates to fill any scoring void but they combined to shoot 7-of-30 from the floor - including 1-of-10 from long range - in the loss to Memphis. "It's a tough one to swallow, for sure," Devin Harris told the team website. "But we've got to get over it quick, and we've got to come back (on Sunday), correct our mistakes. It's not an Xs and Os thing. It was more energy and effort, and that's something we can correct."ABOUT THE HEAT (37-33):
Miami is also just 3 1/2 games out of third place in the East as it begins a closing stretch in which it plays eight of 12 at home, where the team is 20-13. "Every game has playoff implications for us," center Kelly Olynyk told reporters in Los Angeles. "We have to treat every game like a playoff game. We really have to go home and take care of business." Dwyane Wade (hamstring) missed his third straight game in the victory while Hassan Whiteside (hip) sat for the fourth time in a row.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Nuggets PF Paul Millsap had 27 points and nine rebounds in a 95-94 win over Miami at home earlier this season.
2. Dragic reached the 30-point mark in back-to-back games for the first time and is 7-for-11 from 3-point range in that span.
3. Nuggets C Nikola Jokic has two triple-doubles and one double-double in his last four games.PREDICTION:
Heat 105, Nuggets 101
Stats and Records