Nuggets coach George Karl has a stance on adjustments a coach makes between games during a playoff series. It's probably not what you think it is, however.
"I know you want to talk about the adjustments that's going to be made," Karl said. "And there will be some adjustments. Early in a series you throw some things out really quick, add some things really quick. But the things that you already have in your pocket that are good, that you sustain and get them better, nobody talks about.
"We don't want to give back anything we did defensively that was advantageous to us. And the little things on offense that we feel we were pretty good at ... we don't want to give them back. We want to get them better. I know everybody wants to talk about the strategic adjustments. They have a great staff, I have a great staff, there will be adjustments. But it's a unified effort of adjustments, betterment, rotations, confidence that makes you win games."
The Nuggets won Game 1 of their first-round series against Golden State on Saturday despite poor shooting. Andre Miller shot 68 percent (11-of-16), saving the day for the Nuggets, but the rest of the team shot only 39 percent (27-of-69). Miller scored a season-high 28 points off the bench in Denver's 97-95 victory, including the winning basket with 1.2 seconds left.
"We were missing a lot of shots that we normally make," Ty Lawson said Sunday. "If we make those like we normally do, it'll be a lot easier game. I think we got the shots we wanted; we got open 3s. People didn't realize how open they were at the free-throw line."
Golden State was successful in getting back in transition, forcing the Nuggets to play more half-court offense than they wanted. The Warriors slapped a zone defense on Denver for spurts. Overall, they played pick-and-roll situations well, particularly when center Andrew Bogut was on the court, and they plugged the lane effectively, keeping Lawson from penetrating for significant portions of the game. They were able to do so by leaving the Nuggets open from 3-point range — and the Nuggets were only 3-for-16 on 3-point attempts.
Of his team's offense, Karl said Golden State added "a lot of frustration in our game." Lawson and Miller watched video Sunday to see what the Warriors were doing defensively and to make better reads on what they're faced with Tuesday in Game 2 of the series.
"It's how L.A. played our guards last year (in the playoffs)," Karl said. "So we'll be able to dig up some of the tapes from the Lakers series."
The expectation is the return of Kenneth Faried from an ankle injury is the best remedy for a turnaround of Denver's 55-45 deficit on the boards in Game 1. Faried will help on the offensive glass, which has been a strength of the Nuggets all season.
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In addition, Andre Iguodala said, the Nuggets must do a better job blocking out. "We have the habit of running to the basket when a shot goes up and we lose kind of that fundamental mind of blocking out," he said.
Then there is dealing with Bogut, who has become the first wild card of the series. The former Utah Utes star played only 32 games during the regular season because of injuries, but he had a huge presence for the Warriors on Saturday, scoring nine points and grabbing 14 rebounds. It was the 7-footer's work protecting the rim that caught most everyone's attention. He had four of Golden State's 10 blocks.
"We don't want him standing in the middle of the paint," Karl said. "We want him to move laterally. We had one play where Anthony Randolph went right by him; we had a couple plays where we see that his feet can be attacked. But if you're going to let him be a tree in the middle of the paint, he's (darn) good."
NBA Playoffs: Nuggets vs. Warriors Game 2 at Denver, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, ALT/TNT