When asked about what concerns him the most about the looming series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone had a simple answer: defending the 3-point line. Per Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest, he admitted that it would be among his biggest fears.
“I think the thing that scares me the most is the three-point line,” he said. “You know, they take 42 a game. They were second or third in both makes and attempts.
“The last game we played them, they hit nine in the first quarter. They can break a game open.”
Malone’s trepidation in that regard is justified; the Blazers did rank No. 2 in both makes and attempts, and appear to be percolating at the right time; over a pivotal last 10 games, they were No. 1 in 3-point percentage. Additionally, in four regular season meetings against the Nuggets, the Blazers hit a blistering 18.0 3-pointers per game at a 41.9 percent clip.
Malone went into further detail in complimenting Damian Lillard, the head of the Blazers’ attack, and how he accentuates the offense.
“They have an elite offense — number two in offensive efficiency. They don’t turn the ball over and you have a guy in Damian Lillard who takes 10 and-a-half threes a game. Eight of those are pull-up threes and we know that his pull-up, three-point range is just over half court.
So, your pick-up points, your bigs being at the level, he, understandably so, attracts so much attention.”
In the rest of the article, Jaynes discusses his admiration for CJ McCollum, the challenge of defending the Blazers three-guard lineup, and Portland’s bruising bigs, among much else. The link to it can be found here.