Nuggets coach Michael Malone offered a vehement defense of his star, Nikola Jokic, on Friday night less than two hours before Denver was set to host the Brooklyn Nets. “There’s so many things being said about this poor kid, and I understand some of it, but those of us who know him, give the kid a break,” Malone said. “He made a mistake, he’s paying for it, get off his back a little bit. He’s a great kid. He loves everybody, and he meant no offense to anybody.” Malone defended his young center after what’s been a difficult few days for him. Jokic was fined $25,000 on Wednesday for an offensive slur used during an interview on Oct. 31 in Chicago. When asked Friday about his remark – and his offensive struggles – Jokic offered little insight as he was fearful of saying the wrong thing. “Right now there are so many people hitting Nikola Jokic, he has so much going on in his head right now, sometimes leaving a guy alone is just as impactful,” Malone said, revealing that he didn’t feel the need to talk to Jokic after the Nuggets played Memphis Wednesday. “He’s gonna be fine, let the kid be a 23-year-old young kid who’s gonna have a great, great future in a Nuggets uniform,” Malone said.