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News » NUGGETS Don't think about revenge vs. Lakers The back-to-back games are only about getting better for when they count, players s

NUGGETS Don't think about revenge vs. Lakers The back-to-back games are only about getting better for when they count, players s

NUGGETS Don't think about revenge vs. Lakers The back-to-back games are only about getting better for when they count, players sThere is no honor in the preseason, no revenge in an exhibition win.

The Nuggets face the L.A. Lakers in back-to-back games beginning tonight in Anaheim, Calif., and concluding Friday in San Diego. The matchups, tonight on TNT and Friday on ESPN, will no doubt be laced by the broadcasters with Western Conference finals rematch overtones, even if they're subtle.

But the Nuggets aren't looking at it that way against the team that eliminated them from last season's playoffs. Not even close.

"Of course we want to win, but we're just trying to get better at the end of the day," forward Carmelo Anthony said. "We're going to see them four times during the year. It's more on us and how we execute plays, how we bring practice into game situations. It ain't really too much on them."

The Nuggets have spent most of the past 10 days trying to smooth out rough edges offensively.

"We want to play a little better than we've been playing," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I think we have to against a team like the Lakers. (Tuesday's game against Minnesota) was a good step forward. There's some things we've been doing better. Our focus has been better on offensive problems."

Those problems were as follows: "I don't think we're running hard, I don't think we're penetrating enough, and I don't think we're passing enough," Karl said. "To be the aggressive team on almost every possession takes energy, takes concentration, takes a lot of focus."

Anthony, who has been just short of spectacular this preseason, said he is encouraged by some of the improvement the Nuggets have made offensively.

Tuesday "was probably our best game other than the second game in China," said Anthony, who is averaging 22.8 points and 4.8 rebounds during the preseason. "We made some huge strides. Our offense was probably a little bit behind."

Look for Karl to let the game dictate how hard he coaches it. Expect J.R. Smith to play one of the halves, and perhaps not the other, in each game as Karl continues to search for the right combinations of lineups for when Smith serves his seven-game suspension to start the season.

"The competitive nature of the game might dictate how hard I go after it," Karl said. "There's something to be won by just competing the right way. But it's still exhibition season."

Footnote. The Nuggets waived swingman James White on Wednesday, a day after they informed guard Dontaye Draper and center Kurt Looby that they were waived as well. "You can't have a good camp without guys like that," Karl said. "And James White, I definitely think is an NBA player. He just has to find the right spot."

Chris Dempsey: 303-954-1279 or

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 23, 2009


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