The Denver Nuggets have turned into quite the giant killers, especially at home this season. Denver has already beaten Memphis, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors and now thanks to their win the other night, the Los Angeles Clippers in the mile high city. Their latest win wasn’t just any ordinary win for the Nuggets. Behind tough defense and solid rebounding, Denver pushed around the Clips and ended their 17-game winning streak. The Western Conference is awfully tough this year and there are very few nights off but if Ty Lawson can turn around his disappointing start to the season and Danilo Gallinari can play a little bit more consistently, the Nuggets could be a pain for teams out West.
George Karl joined KOA in Denver on the Dave Logan Show to talk about the defense and toughness they showed in snapping the Clippers winning streak, on the struggles of Ty Lawson this season, how he feels about Andre Iguodala’s play since coming to Denver and what he thinks about Danilo Gallinari’s play this season.
On the defense and toughness they showed in snapping the Clippers winning streak:
“I’ve said all along that we have not become a good defensive team yet but we have had good defensive games. That was maybe our best defensive game. On Christmas Day they kind of punked us a little bit and they pushed us around, they hit us, talked a lot and they made the shots down there. We did a great job of being physical. There’s a toughness to the game that sometimes we need get a little better at. I think we stood up to them at a pretty good rate and because of that I think we won the game.”
On the struggles of Ty Lawson this season:
“I think we could talk for about two hours on it. I think any time, not only in basketball but I think any time a football player or baseball player signs a big contract I think history says most of the time that next year is usually, not a bad year but at least an average year or a mediocre year and Ty has 50 games left to turn the season around. He knows that we’re not unhappy with him but he knows we’re not getting the production we need out of him. He needs to challenge himself. He needs to make a stronger commitment to get healthy number one and get back on the court. Then when we have both Ty and Andre (Miller) playing at a high level we can play with anybody in basketball but we need both of them and they’re different. Andre is kind of the cerebral, old guy, down at the YMCA that knows how to win games. Then there’s Ty who has this amazing speed with the ball that very few players in the NBA has.”
On the play of Andre Iguodala since coming to Denver:
“I think early in the season the way we played was a little bit confusing with him. I think some of the reads that we asked him to make on offense were different than what he has gone through when he was in Philadelphia but I think gradually hes becoming more comfortable with how we want to attack the rim and on every catch to play aggressively rather than maybe be reading the play or passively and we’re more into aggressive reaction to our offense. We want the defense to react to us as opposed to them controlling us. I think he’s getting better there. I think the other aspects of his game, I think when we made the trade we knew we would get this defensive minded guy that could give us good passing and good rebounding and be put on the best player on the court on most nights. I still think we are getting that guy. I think we got that guy and he’s making gradual improvement and I think at the end of the season we are going to get a really, really strong performer. He’s never going to be a spectacular but I think he’s going to be one of these special players that help you win night in and night out.”
What he makes of the play of Danilo Gallinari:
“I think Danilo had a bad start. He got off to a bad start and I think he is starting to round into good form right now. The one thing that I would like from not only him but I think we’re talking about Ty in the same breath and maybe even AI (Andre Iguodala) and JaVale (McGee) in the same breath. Those are our four most talented guys and any time we get three of those four guys playing at an A level we are very difficult to beat. The problem is consistently we have only gotten two of those guys to play at that level. We need to orchestrate some type of chemistry where we get them playing at a higher level on every given night and I don’t think we need spectacular. All we need is that solid, tough-minded player where when their moments come on the court they take advantage of them and they are very efficient in converting and playing both ends of the court at a high level. I think Gallo is rounding into shape. The only thing I’d like to see is him be more consistent.”
Listen to George Karl on KOA in Denver here (Audio begins 11:30 into the podcast)