With the Denver Nuggets facing a third consecutive 3-1 series deficit, head coach Michael Malone feels confident in his group's ability to defy the odds once again.
"We've been here twice and we've answered the call," Malone said Friday, according to The Denver Post's Mike Singer. "To be honest, in the second round against the (Los Angeles) Clippers, they were the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing ahead of the (Los Angeles) Lakers."
The Nuggets already became the first team in NBA history to overcome multiple 3-1 series deficits in a single playoff run, battling back against the Utah Jazz in Round 1 then stunning the heavily favored Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. Denver owns a 6-0 record this postseason when facing elimination.
L.A. took similar measures following its Game 3 loss, bringing attention to LeBron James' lack of free-throw attempts to that point of the series. The gesture appeared to pay off in Thursday's 114-108 win, as James attempted a series-high 11 shots from the charity stripe.
Malone and the Nuggets will look to keep their season alive against the Lakers with a win in Game 5. They'll need key performances from Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, who have averaged just under 59 points combined in the team's six previous elimination games.
Tipoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.