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Northwest Notes: Blazers, Nuggets, Wolves

First-year Nuggets coach Michael Malone is frustrated with the lack of energy from his players and wondered if he has been pushing too hard, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post relays. Specifically, Malone was referring to the Nuggets’ lopsided loss in their home opener. 

“I have the propensity to push, push, push, push,” Malone said. “And after the game last night, I’m always going to look at myself in the mirror — hey, maybe we pushed too hard for too long. … So, today, we went hard, but we went short. So maybe I have to scale back a little bit, because we are banged up, we have guys who are playing fairly heavy minutes. So, I have to maybe be a little bit more judicious in how we practice.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Wolves owner owner Glen Taylor has granted GM Milt Newton and interim coach Sam Mitchell “autonomy” to make important decisions and both are dedicated to carrying out Flip Saunders’ blueprint of developing young talent, Chip Scroggins of the Star Tribune opines.
  • Damian Lillard is probably deferring to his teammates too much so far for the Blazers, but in the long-term, that’s a good thing for Portland, Jason Quick of opines. Lillard, who was signed to a max extension in the summer, is 1-for-15 from the field in the fourth quarter so far this season, Quick points out. With a new supporting cast, Quick argues that Lillard’s sacrifice will help the Blazers play more team basketball.
  • Mason Plumlee, who came to the Blazers in a draft night trade with the Nets, has been impressing his Portland teammates and coaches with his ability to handle the ball and make plays since early in the summer, Mike Richman of The Oregonian relays. In contrast to his days with the Nets, Plumlee fits better in the Blazers’ faster-paced system because he has the freedom to use his full array of skills, including leading fast breaks, Richman adds.

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