Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone channeled the spirit of legendary NBA coach Rudy Tomjanovich, invoking his iconic quote, “Never underestimate the heart of a champion,” as his team rallied to tie the Western Conference semifinals series against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4.

Reflecting on the resilience of his team, Malone echoed Tomjanovich’s sentiment, emphasizing the unwavering belief and determination of the defending champions.

In a postgame interview, Malone remarked, “What I found is Rudy T is right, man. Never underestimate the heart of a champion. They were quick to write us off, but these guys, we won a championship a year ago. We went into Miami, won two games in a year [in last year’s Finals]. This team has been tested time and time again and we found a way to solve whatever’s been thrown at us.

“This series is long way from being over. We’re not celebrating. It’s 2-2, so now you have to find a way to win Game 5. But what I found about our group is that they do believe in themselves and more importantly they believe in the man next to them. We have a group that is acting as you would hope a championship team would act. They had a bad game, we owned it and we moved past it and we played better.”

Tomjanovich’s quote, immortalized in basketball lore, epitomizes the resilience and determination of champions, serving as a rallying cry for teams facing adversity.

With the series now tied at 2-2, both the Nuggets and the Timberwolves are set for a decisive Game 5 showdown in Denver.

Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ star center, delivered a stellar performance, scoring 35 points and demonstrating his leadership in the crucial moments of the game.