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Nuggets temporary head coach compares Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to Karl Malone and John Stockton

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Denver Nuggets players Nikola Jokic (15) and  Jamal Murray (27) in an NBA basketball game on Dec. 23, 2022, in Denver.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and guard Jamal Murray (27) in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Denver.

David Zalubowski, Associated Press

David Adelman has been filling in as the Denver Nuggets’ head coach for the past few days while usual head coach Mike Malone is in COVID-19 health and safety protocol, and on Wednesday night he made a comparison between his two best players and two Utah Jazz legends.

Speaking to reporters after the Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-118, Adelman was asked about the luxury of having both two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and star guard Jamal Murray playing together during the fourth quarter of a close game.

Adelman, the son of longtime NBA head coach Rick Adelman (who was an NBA head coach almost continuously from 1989-2014), compared watching Jokic and Murray to watching Jazz Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone, who both played from the mid-1980s until the early 2000s.

“I’m going to date myself, but it’s like watching Stockton and Malone,” David Adelman said. “I mean, it really is. It’s not like it’s a set. It’s just space, and two guys that understand each other.

“The chemistry there is so incredible, and I thought Jamal was really smart tonight ... yeah, man, it’s fun to watch those guys play that two-man game, ’cause it’s not just one thing. It’s a million things at once.”

Asked about the comparison, Murray said with a smile, “I mean, I don’t think Stockton could score like me” before he detailed how the Nuggets pulled out the win.