Jokic was coming off a four-point effort in which he shot 0-for-1 in a loss at Memphis before getting 37 points and 21 rebounds Friday night against the Nets — a team he torched for 41 points last season — Friday night at Pepsi Center.
“We need to get a lot more shots for him,” Malone said. “That’s on me, it’s on his teammates, but most importantly, it’s on Nikola to take that burden to set the tone early in the game.
“It’s not him making a blatant attempt to say, ‘I’m not shooting the ball tonight.’ He’s trying to make the right plays.”
Jokic was 14-for-22 Friday night, hitting his only three-point try.
Of Jokic’s controversial comment, Malone said: “He made a mistake. He’s paying for it. Get off his back a little bit. He’s a great kid, he likes everybody, and he meant no offense to anybody.”
Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray, who scored 16 points against the Nets on Friday night, stirred a minor tempest when he scored 48 in a win over the Celtics on Monday but took a shot to reach 50 points as time expired.
Malone said Murray’s 48-point game “has been overshadowed by all the stupid controversy about the last shot. But it was a hell of a performance, and I think he’ll have other games like that in his career.”
Suns star Devin Booker, who played at Kentucky one year earlier than Murray, told Newsday, “Jamal is one of the best one-on-one players to ever play the game, some of the best moves and handles. A lot of the moves he has, I would never have, but I like learning from it and trying to take bits and pieces from it.”