Kendrick Perkins wasn’t a fan of Nuggets coach Michael Malone’s comments criticizing his team’s lack of effort in Denver’s loss to the Heat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.
During an appearance on ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning, Perkins said Malone needs to “hold himself accountable” rather than blaming his players, specifically pointing to Malone’s usage of Michael Porter Jr. as an area he feels the Nuggets’ coach needs to improve upon.
“While Mike Malone is sitting up there calling out his teammates, he’s got to look himself in the mirror as well,” Perkins said. “Effort was one thing, but I didn’t see too many things Michael Malone did as well.”
.@KendrickPerkins says Michael Malone needs to "hold himself accountable" for the Nuggets Game 2 loss 👀— First Take (@FirstTake) June 5, 2023
"Michael Malone is calling out his team, but who's calling out Michael Malone?" pic.twitter.com/dw02o2CNbo
In regard to Porter, Perkins pointed to the Missouri product’s elite size at 6’10” and his shot-making ability as tools Malone failed to use after adjustments from the Heat slowed down Jamal Murray.
“We talk about how dangerous the two-man game is with [Nikola] Jokić and Jamal Murray, but what happens when that’s not going?” Perkins said. “How about utilizing [Porter] being 6’10” and at times he may have a smaller defender on him and say, ‘Let’s see how he can do on the low block’? If a guy feels involved offensively, he’s going to give you everything and more on the defensive side of things.”
We’ll see what adjustments Malone makes for Game 3, including whether he gets Porter more involved offensively. The series continues Wednesday in Miami at 8:30 p.m. ET.