Mike Malone said Jamal Murray selflessly benched himself in Heat win

The reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets have been on an absolute tear since the All-Star break. Denver has won 10 of its last 11 games, surging back to possession of the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed for the first time since the early season. Beyond leading MVP candidate Nikola Jokic’s motivational texts, it’s easy to see why the Nuggets are finding their championship form.

They genuinely don’t care who gets the lion’s share of the credit in wins. We saw this as much in Miami on Wednesday night after Denver closed out its 2023 Finals opponent with its second unit in the fourth quarter.

As Nuggets head coach Mike Malone revealed, that partly only happened because usual starting point guard and shooting guard Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope saw that their respective substitutes, Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun, were playing very well. And they didn’t want to disrupt their rhythm while closing out a victory.

Talk about a selfless gesture for your teammates:

It’s easy to say you don’t care who gets the credit in wins. It’s even easier to backtrack and settle into more selfish tendencies, getting away from a brand of play that involves everyone in a healthy fashion. But these Nuggets clearly don’t do that. On a night where Jokic and Murray combined for 26 points, Denver still cruised to a comfortable win over a tough Heat team that gives so many others so many problems.

That only happened because the Nuggets have the ultimate antidote to grimy basketball that punishes you for ever thinking, “It’s time to get mine.”: Playing for and fighting for one another without hesitation.

First appeared on ftw.usatoday.com

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