Is This a Must Win For Denver?
George Karl stopped short of calling tonight a must-win.
But the Denver Nuggets coach labeled it close to it.
With the Thunder up 1-0 heading into Game 2, the Nuggets’ main goal is evening the series with a win tonight before the series shifts to Denver for Games 3 and 4.
“We want to win this game,” Karl said. “I don’t think it’s a 100 percent must-win game, but I think it makes the series more the way we want it. Home court is something that we’d like to take from them and there’s no question that we’re anxious for that opportunity.”
Karl said his team has a “youthful anger” that he thinks will allow it to overcome Sunday’s defeat. And he added that he’s watched the film of Game 1 game roughly three times and has come away more impressed with his team’s performance after each viewing.
“Yesterday’s practice was very, very mean and ugly a little bit,” Karl said. “Some guys were pissed off and they decided to show it against on other. Hopefully, they show it tonight against Oklahoma City.”
As he had in the previous two days, Karl stressed that now is not a time for his Nuggets to panic, or even overreact to the Thunder taking the first game. His main reason for optimism was the scorching hot shooting by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The tandem scored a combined 72 points on 25 of 45 shooting. And according to Karl, the Thunder’s All-Star duo combined to make 18 of 25 jumpers, many of them, Karl said, were contested.
“If they shoot 18-for-40 I’d probably be a lot happier than 18-for-25 on jump shots,” Karl said. “They shot an incredibly high percentage, which I think is what you see in playoff games. The great players make tough shots. But I think they went a little above board on that.”
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