Draymond Green

Draymond claims T-Wolves ‘snatched' Nuggets' confidence in playoffs

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The team facing the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at Ball Arena did not look like the defending NBA champions.

The Denver Nuggets looked shaken and out of character in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on their home court, and they will take a 0-2 series deficit into Minnesota where they will try to get into the win column.

But Warriors veteran forward Draymond Green believes it might be too late for the defending champs.

"Man, Denver is down bad right now," Green said on the latest "Draymond Green Show." "No, not because they're down 0-2, but because you can tell their confidence was snatched. Their belief was snatched. There's a lot of doubt. When they head to Minnesota, they get on that plane doubting, uncertain if they can compete with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I'm uncertain that they can. I still see Denver going to Minnesota and possibly pulling off a game, but they don't stand much of a chance in this one."

Game 1 of the series was much more how many fans expected the best-of-seven clash to go, but Game 2 was a whole different story.

Even after Timberwolves All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who was just named the 2023-24 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, missed Monday's game due to the birth of his son, Minnesota found strength in numbers as other players stepped up to the plate.

"[The Timberwolves] took on the challenge and [Karl Anthony Towns] did a hell of a job on [Nikola Jokić]. And Naz Reid did an incredible job when he was guarding Joker. They made it tough, they got under his skin, they got him frustrated, and in turn, they were able to do that from the very beginning of the game. And guess what? You cut off the head of the snake, the body dies.

"The Denver Nuggets were extremely out of character. Jamal Murray was going back and forth with the refs more than he normally does, coach [Michael Malone] on the court going crazy at the refs, you got [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] arguing with the ref a bit, which KCP don't ever get rattled, you had Joker kind of pouting a bit. They were rattled. Then you had Aaron Gordon start to take a bunch of turnaround jump shots and midrange jumpers.

"I don't know the team that I was watching. A, I don't view that and think it was a flake. Minnesota is real."

Jokić, a two-time NBA MVP and finalist for the award again this season, finished the regular season averaging 26.4 points on 58.3-percent shooting, with 12.4 rebounds and nine assists.

In Monday's loss, Jokić had 16 points on 38.5-percent shooting, with 16 rebounds, eight assists and four turnovers.

Green said the performance was "very uncharacteristic" for the Nuggets big man, adding that he looked out of sync and out of rhythm.

Murray also struggled to get going in the second game of the series, finishing with just eight points on 16.7-percent shooting, adding 13 rebounds, two assists and four turnovers.

Green stated that Denver is "severely overmatched" and, although it's a best-of-seven series, believes the time might be ending for the defending champs. And while the Boston Celtics are the favorites to come out the Eastern Conference, Green doesn't think that matters, as he already went a step ahead and predicted that after each team wins their current respective series, the winner of the Dallas Mavericks and Timberwolves will become the next NBA champions.

"We shall see what happens with this series, but I'll tell you what: It ain't going no longer than five," Green said. "I thought Minnesota would beat them for sure, but I didn't know it would be this way. It looked like one team doesn't belong on the same court as the other team. And that my friends is a big ass problem, and I don't think it's solvable in this series."

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