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News » Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-11-13

Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-11-13

Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-11-13--It didn't take long for J.R. Smith to get back in the groove.

Smith missed the first seven games of the season due to an NBA suspension for pleading last summer to reckless driving for a 2007 accident that killed a passenger in his car. And Nuggets coach George Karl was worried Smith would be rusty when he came back.

Smith was Tuesday at Chicago when he shot 1-of-9 and scored five points. But not on Wednesday at Milwaukee.

Smith shot 7-of-15 for 18 points in 28 minutes, although the Nuggets lost 108-102.

Smith getting back into a groove couldn't come at a better time. The Nuggets play host to the Lakers on Friday in a much-anticipated rematch of last spring's Western Conference final, won 4-2 by the Lakers.

What was important Wednesday was that Smith didn't just score. He had four steals, a continued sign that his defense, which got better last season, is continuing to improve.

--The Nuggets might not have won Wednesday at Milwaukee, but George Karl has flourished since he was fired as Bucks coach in the summer of 2003.

Karl made his sixth appearance in Milwaukee since being let go by the Bucks, and Denver fell 108-102. But the Bucks haven't had much success since Karl's departure.

Since he was let go, the Bucks have had four coaches in Terry Porter, Terry Scotts, Larry Krystkowiak and current boss Scott Skiles. In the previous six seasons, they've made two playoff appearances and never had a record above .500 (the best being 41-41 in 2003-04).

Karl was hired by Denver in January 2005. Since then, the Nuggets have made five straight playoff appearances, including advancing last spring to the Western Conference finals.

Karl on Tuesday at Chicago won his 939th career NBA game to move into eighth place on the all-time NBA list, ahead of Red Auerbach.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We weren't good enough offensively and we weren't good enough defensively." -- Coach George Karl, whose Nuggets lost 108-102 Wednesday at Milwaukee.

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Added: November 13, 2009


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