DENVER - Denver Nuggets coach George Karl will get another crack at properly identifying the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena.
His Nuggets prevented a series sweep with a 104-101 survival in Game 4 on Monday night inside the Pepsi Center to force Game 5.
Perhaps he is simply playing more mind games with the youngest roster in the NBA playoffs, but Karl frequently has categorized the Thunder as a "jump-shot team" throughout this opening-round series.
Saying a team relies on jump shots is viewed as the equivalent of saying that team is soft and shies away from physical play, yet the Thunder has out-rebounded the Nuggets in all four games.
In addition, jump-shot teams don't frequently go to the free-throw line, yet OKC finished second in the league in free-throw attempts at 29.3 per game.
OKC coach Scott Brooks quickly shook off Karl's assessment, which is as close as Brooks ever gets to losing his cool.
"I don't look at ourselves as a jump-shooting team," Brooks said. "To me, that's a little bit of a 'soft' team. We get to the free-throw line just as much as they do."
Denver led the league at 29.6 free-throw attempts per game and similar to the Thunder, the Nuggets pride themselves as a transition team that constantly attacks.
"I don't know if we're a jump-shooting team or not, but I do know we play aggressive," OKC point guard Russell Westbrook said.
Denver Post columnist Mark Kizla also fueled the flames.
"As a championship contender, Oklahoma City is a fraud," Kizla wrote after Game 3. "The Thunder is a collection of soft jump-shooters and irritable hotheads. This young team has undeniable basketball ability but a lot of growing up to do … The jump shot of (Kevin) Durant, who doesn't like to get dirty, has betrayed him for most of this series. He is soft and adds little besides scoring. Wasn't that the rap on (Carmelo) Anthony in Denver?