Alrighty, this is Zach Gelb's show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. Let's reconnect with Scott Hastings, who did play with the Denver Nuggets and has been a part of their broadcast team for a long time. He's kind enough to join us right now with Denver in the NBA Finals going up against the Miami Heat. Game one tomorrow night. Scott, appreciate the time. How are you? Zach, I'm doing well. How do you think, by the way, this long layoff is going to impact game one, if at anything at all, Scott?
Well, I told some people this today. Denver basically took the last three weeks of the season off, and they looked pretty good in that first game against Minnesota. So I think they're used to playing without rest, or playing with a whole lot of rest.
But that'll be something that'll be answered. Like I said, they did kind of shut it down the last 20 games of the season, probably. It wasn't a lot of high-intensity-type games. It kind of built a big enough cushion in the Western Conference. And then they still, even after the season's over, had four or five days.
So for this nine days, I'll tell you this. I think it helps Jamal Murray, because I think he's still coming back from that ACL. I think he'll have fresh legs. And there was times, especially late in that Phoenix series, you could tell his legs were getting a little tired. Joker has kind of played the whole playoffs with a little bit of a banged-up wrist.
So you got nine or 10 days to kind of get that thing calmed down a little bit. But we'll see. I think, for me, that's the biggest question for the Nuggets.
And if they come out and they're OK, I think Denver wins the series. I've always been a huge fan of Jamal Murray. The last two years, you knew that this team wasn't going to get back to championship form, just with how they're constructed, until he got back on a basketball court. Does it at all surprise you how quickly he's been able to assert himself back as just that finisher, that closer, and that killer that this team needs with what he suffered? No, because, you know, it took a while. He talked about this in the Lakers series, about his process he had to go through.
I mean, he mentioned it wasn't until January that he ever got to play in a back-to-back games. And so they took it slow. The one thing that this organization has done, and they did the same thing with Michael, they ain't going to rush a guy back. And especially if it's a serious injury that they would rather... I think management and ownership sees bigger picture, right? And there was talk even last year that, hey, Murray might come back for game three, kind of like they're talking about with Miami, with Tyler Hero.
Now, a broken finger and a torn ACL is two different kind of things, but there was a little hope. And I think finally, wiser heads and the ownership kind of boss said, listen, no, let's get you back when you're completely right. It took him probably until January, maybe February, where now all of a sudden he's right consistently. He started seeing moments early on.
And then after the new year, man, he just turned on the fire. I've told everybody this, Joker is the best player. And there's just no question about that. I mean, he's just another world. But Jamal Murray is this team's heart and soul. He's their emotional guy at home. He's the guy that gets the crowd into it with them. He's their heart and soul. He's their emotional leader. And so it hasn't surprised me. But again, I think they could have pushed him and he could have come back sooner.
But a classy organization didn't do that. And he came back when he needed to come back. And he's fine right now. Yeah. Scott, I've been saying this for a while.
Scott Hastings with us. And I know the words most valuable player is very sensitive in the NBA and also when it comes to this year's conversation. And it's weird to say it because we all know the Joker could have won the MVP back to back to back years. And we know that his importance to this franchise, he's the Nuggets best player, but their most valuable player, the way they constructed to me is Jamal Murray, similarly to what you just said. And you kind of look at Philadelphia. I know Sixers fans and Nuggets fans get into debates all the time.
The Nuggets have done what the Sixers have been able to do, and that's to find the closer that Philadelphia doesn't have. And that's Murray. Well, well, I would agree and disagree.
I think it's a combination. They asked Aaron Gordon at the end of that that Laker series about the two man game of Joker Murray. They play off each other so well. And Joker I won't to his credit because and again, you know this, Zach, this is a superstar driven league, right?
And 1985 to 90% time them superstars got a nice ego to handle. Joker has no ego. He doesn't care if Murray's rolling. He's finding Murray. He's getting him open. He said screens. He mentioned the other day when he when Murray had 23 in that one quarter, he said, listen, all I'm doing is fine.
How can I set a screen? Where can I hit his man? How can I give him a little opening so we can get a shot up off because he shoots so bad. But then when Murray has tough games and he's had tough shooting games and what he does. The comfort zone is okay.
Now the cola yoga will take over. Um, I can't remember. I think it was the second half of that or one of the games. I don't know if it's Phoenix or whatever. You know, in fact, I think they're down.
In fact, you know what? It might've been that game, game four against the Lakers. They're down five or six. Joker throws 17 in the third quarter and just says, okay, here we go boys.
Let's go. Um, so it's, it's, yes, he is, he is an MVP talking about Jamal Murray. Um, but it's the combination of the two together and the threat of the pick and roll, the threat of the dribble handoff, the threat of the one on one, um, screen step out big joker goes to the basket and you see what he does on, on rebounds.
It's, it's the threat of those two guys together that, that really I think is kind of pushed his team over the top this year. Scott, last time we had Joe and we had you respond to the idiots in the media that called Nikola Jokic boring, and I think everyone can admit they were wrong on that by now. Now the conversation has shifted to the Denver Nuggets are a boring team. There's just not a lot of fun things to talk about when discussing Denver. How do you respond to that?
Jackassery? Well, I read an ad, um, an athletic writer the other day said, you know, they're just so methodical. Well, if methodical went to a championship ring, uh, I don't think anybody in San Antonio has complained about any of the championships they won. Uh, I think they're probably a little bit of a throwback to kind of that team because they, they, when they're good, uh, and there's been times this year that, I mean, I've watched, there's certain periods they play that there's no one in the league can beat them. And hopefully you find that out against Miami.
Um, they, they, they just execute, they, they, everybody knows, listen, Zach, everything we're talking about, if this is boring, you know, we got to quit, you know, quit giving a millennials, uh, computers and pencils and Facebook and everything else. Because if you honestly think this is boring, the execution for your offense, I mean, Denver played LA and as you know, everybody, all the major media picked LA to win that series. Well, he's got the best defense, uh, in the playoffs and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. They've been the best team the last third of the season, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.
Okay. Um, Denver averaged 118 points a game in those four games. They, they execute and if methodical is the new term for execution, um, then I hope they methodically just run all over Miami and get this over so I can finally, he started hitting the golf ball.
Scott Hastings here with us. Why I like this final so much is just really the stories like we all know how good Denver could be, but what Joker has become, no one saw this coming where he was drafted and for Jimmy Butler, I didn't expect him to turn into a hall of fame player when he elected to go sign with the Miami Heat. It's neat from both sides because you look at the way that they traveled to get here.
It is fascinating. Well, with Denver, Denver lost to Minnesota in game 82 before they started the, this run in the playoffs in game 82 and overtime in Minnesota. And it was Jimmy Butler that won that game and he was, I mean, he's a junkyard dog. He's, he's a throwback guy that you go back to the year I played.
I mean, this guy fits. Um, when they traded him or he moved on or however he got to Philadelphia, trust me, a lot, a lot of us that know or happy that they were stupid enough to get rid of Jimmy Butler. It was a dumb trade. And then cause we knew, I mean, us in Denver saw him and we were happy. And then when, when it didn't work out with Philly and they, they chose other guys, they chose Ben Simmons over Jimmy Butler. That, you know, you can fire all the coaches you want.
That's the decision makers are stupid. Um, and then he goes to Miami and listen, he's, you know, other guys may have played better in that final game seven, but what Jimmy Butler has done in this series is, is, I mean, that's, that's write it down on a stone tablet and take it to the Mount because he has been phenomenal. It does not surprise me at all. Cause I, you know, I try to pay attention to the league and players. I, I, dude, I just, I love Jimmy Butler. Uh, in fact, when they trade into Philly, I was telling somebody, I said, dude, why didn't we trade for him?
I mean, Nicole Jokic with Jimmy Butler and Jamal Murray. Now you might, you might have a new, uh, golden state kind of, uh, something, something going on before we let you run. We all know you'll want Denver to win this series clearly, but how do you think this series does play out? How many games and who do you have winning? I got Denver winning and I, I just got to do that cause they pay my checks. But, um, I real, I listen, this team's really good.
And I, you know, I do a radio show. We've had a lot of NBA people on. We even had a guy from the East coast who came on and said, well, yeah, I watched joker the last month of the season, April, uh, to see that I was going to vote for, for MVP.
And I'm like, they shut it down. They weren't playing. Did you watch January and February when he was the MD, you know, the player of the month, back to back months. Now he was just watching it in April when no one cared, but saying that, um, if the layoff does not affect Denver, then I don't, I don't see how, I don't see how Miami beats them. Um, if Denver comes out and looks rested and excited, I mean, you got to expect Miami to have at least maybe the first game of, man, we just went a seven game emotional series, heartbreaker, go in, go out, trade, move, get on an airplane.
And maybe they decide, whew, this kind of happy to be here. The Denver rolls in game one. I think it could be a long series for Miami. Now, Miami wins it. They're a front running team, man. And I'll say this, I think Eric's bolster is the best coach in the NBA right now.
I there's, to me, there's no question, uh, how good he is. Um, and so you find a way to lose game one, especially at home. Uh, I think, I think you're in a long series. I think you can still win it, but it's going to be a long series. Scott Hastings appreciated time as always. Thanks so much for doing this brother. Anytime we'll talk to you after game four after the sweep.
Okay. How about that Scott Hastings with us on the Zach guild show and little does Scott know last round. I had tickets to game five in Denver and I didn't appreciate the Denver nuggets sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers. It was actually kind of fun watching that game for just hoping the Lakers are going to win. So I could go to that game five, but Hey, w what can you do? I do like Denver in this series and know the Denver nuggets do not pay me.
So that's a, an unbiased opinion right there. I'm just tossing and turning to, I'm going to go five or six. I'm probably, I want to say five, but it's just so tough with the way that Miami plays and it seemed disrespectful to go five.
So I'll give you the official one tomorrow. It's either going to be Denver in five or Denver in six. We'll take a break here on the Zach guild show on CBS sports radio. One team that I thought was going to be interested in Deandre Hopkins. At least they're saying they're good. They are not interested in the help. We'll get to that on the other side.
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