Nuggets head coach: Playing the Suns and the Warriors is the same thing

The Denver Nuggets are hosting the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the Western Conference Tuesday evening.

It’s one of the biggest mid-season games on the NBA’s slate. Can Denver announce its presence league-wide with a win over a team that’s in the midst of a dynasty?

Underplaying the importance of the game, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone gave us one beautiful quote.

“For me,” honest to God, playing Phoenix and playing Golden St. are the same thing,” Malone said.

Technically, all 82 regular season games amount to the same thing. You don’t get two wins for beating the Warriors.

Having said that, it’s not anywhere near the same thing. Let’s count the ways.

  • Phoenix has 32 wins since the start of last season. Golden State has 29 this year alone. And it’s been a down season for the Warriors.
  • The Suns have 79 wins since the start of the 2015-16 season. Golden State? Well, it has won 79–plus games — postseason included — three of the past four seasons.
  • Malone is a former assistant with the Warriors. You don’t think this is big for him?

Anyway, play ball.