The Denver Nuggets were without four starters in their 128-98 loss to the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Sunday night.
Jamal Murray (left knee management), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right ankle sprain), Aaron Gordon (left ankle sprain) and Nikola Jokic (left hamstring) did not make the trip to Minnesota.
The Nuggets played Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, a 128-108 win that tipped off less than 24 hours before Sunday's game in Minnesota. Denver returns home to host the Timberwolves on Tuesday.
"The one thing that is really perplexing in this individual scenario is it's the second night of a back-to-back we're playing 22 hours after tip-off last night," Malone said before the game. "When I told our players that, a veteran like Jeff Green looked at me like I was crazy. He said, 'That's not allowed. That's not legal.' And, obviously, it is."
Caldwell-Pope suffered an ankle sprain on a missed 3-pointer in Saturday's win and did not play in the second half. Murray played more than 36 minutes, finishing with 41 points. Jokic, who missed four games in January but had played in four in a row, played more than 34 minutes. He finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
Bruce Brown, Christian Braun, Michael Porter Jr., Vlatko Cancar and DeAndre Jordan started for Denver against the Timberwolves.
The Nuggets entered Sunday up four games on the Memphis Grizzlies for the best record in the Western Conference.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.