Even George Karl has to be surprised where the Nuggets are. Yes, the man has coached some very good teams that have advanced deep in to the postseason, but come on, this good, this fast? Back in this interviewa couple weeks prior to the playoffs, Karl made it seem as though the Nuggs had absolutely no shot of winning the title. Now, as they await the Lakers or Rockets, shouldn’t they be considered the favorites no matter who they play in the West Final? They’re easily playing the best ball in the West, even if they had two favorable match-ups with teams that couldn’t stop them. It’ll be interesting to watch them against a real defense, whether it be LA or Houston. George Karl joined 104.3 The Fan in Denver to discuss how their defensive mindset evolved, the Nuggs’ confidence, and what ‘The Birdman’ does for Denver’s mojo.
Denver plays defense?
“Somewhere during the year, in either February or March, our team got more happy and more proud about winning games with defense than offense. I thought that was a huge step for the culture of what we’re trying to do in the defensive-minded sense… I thought in the Dallas series, because Dallas is not a very good defensive team, that we could score fairly easily against them, we kinda drifted away from the defensive toughness necessary to be really successful not only against Dallas, but in the next round. I don’t think we can beat the Lakers or Houston without putting two or three really good defensive games on the board.”
On two special things about his team, including ‘The Birdman,’ Chris Andersen:
“I think the two things that happened that are pretty amazing, haven’t seen happen in the NBA in a long time is, it seems like our fans cheers louder when we make a defensive play than an offensive play, and also when Chris Andersen comes in to the game. There’s an amazing energy and spirit that comes on to the court and most of Chris’ spectacular plays are defensive plays. And, he has a tremendous way of taking a good offensive possession by the opposing team, and turning it in to a good offensive possession for us. A lot of Chris’ defensive plays turn in to 4-point plays.”
Karl’s confidence is an at all-time high with this Nuggets team:
“If we play harder than the opponent and pass the ball, we are very confident that we can beat anybody and I have a lot of respect for the Lakers and Cleveland, but it’s the intensity of our defense and passes of our offense, that usually makes it… It’s pretty simple, it’s been that way for a couple years, with our defensive intensity, we are a first class defensive team and when we move the ball, make the extra pass and move together, we’re a damn good offensive team too.”