Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and center Nikola Jokić were both ejected in the Nuggets’ game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday. In 15:13 minutes of action, Jokić had nine points, five rebounds and five assists.
Malone received two technical foul calls with 1:21 remaining in the first quarter. Media members covering the game suggested it stemmed from frustration with officials’ calls. At that time, the Pistons were leading 22-21.
Michael Malone just got ejected in Detroit. Unhappy about a couple calls and literally ran on the floor to contest his latest grievance. Walked himself to the locker room damn near before the ejection signal
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) November 21, 2023
Almost a full quarter later, Jokić joined Malone in the locker room. The two-time MVP was irritated with the lack of calls he was receiving. With 1:22 left in the half and Denver leading 51-50, referees sent Jokić to an early shower for complaining after a no-call.
Nuggets fans were far from the only people angered by the situation, and announcers in Detroit reportedly had strong words for the sequence of events.
After the game, Malone said he “apologized to my players at halftime. You never want to leave them out there.” Detroit head coach Monty Williams said after the ejection “it junked the game up on both ends.”
Coach Malone said him and Nikola Jokić are “kindred spirits.”
Watching together in back, when something good happened, there were cheers and high fives.
When something bad happened, Coach Malone said he (himself) was cursing in Serbian.
— Katy Winge (@katywinge) November 21, 2023
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Denver had lost three of its last four games entering Monday and was playing without guard Jamal Murray, who is nursing a strained hamstring.
The Pistons are on a 12-game losing skid and hold the worst record in the NBA.