Film reviews of Game 5 differ for Nuggets and Warriors

Denver coach George Karl disagrees with Golden State counterpart Mark Jackson
by Aaron Lopez

The 80s and 90s had Siskel & Ebert, two cantankerous film critics who rarely shared the same opinion on popular movies.

The 2013 NBA postseason has Karl & Jackson, two competitive coaches who have opposing views when it comes to the physical tactics being employed in the first round of their Western Conference playoff series.

Roughly 16 hours after Jackson accused the Denver Nuggets of dirty play and sending “hit men” after Golden State point guard Stephen Curry in Game 5, Karl responded in a calm but firm manner Wednesday.

“Every playoff series that I’ve ever been in – and I’ve been in a lot - as the series goes on it gets more physical,” said Karl, who is coaching in his 34th postseason series “We don’t like each other. We shouldn’t like each other. There’s pain and anguish to every loss. I’m just trying to figure out what movie he’s watching. It’s not the one I’m watching.”

The Warriors were called for two flagrant fouls in Game 5 – a 107-100 Denver victory that forced the series back to Oakland. Andrew Bogut shoved Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried near the throat, and rookie Draymond Green lowered his shoulder into Faried while the two were going for a rebound.

Yet Jackson claimed to have inside information asserting that Denver was targeting Curry’s tender left ankle. He specifically took issue with Faried bumping Curry near the free throw line early in the game.

“I wasn’t going for his ankle at all,” Faried said. “He walked through and I was just giving him a bump, like, “Hey, we’re not going to let you shoot and have the type of night you’ve been having.’ I was just being a little physical.”

As additional counterevidence, Karl pointed to an elbow that Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson took with about 20 seconds left before halftime. There was no foul called.

“If there’s a scorecard (and) if we’re in a boxing fight right now, they’re winning the fight,” Karl said. “We won Round 1 and a round last night. But I’m going to tell you, I’ll go to any arbiter right now and show the dirty shots.”

“You should also see Kenneth getting (hit with) some shots in Game 2 that were really interesting. I think if I would take this to court, I’d win.”

Faried would be a willing star witness.

Dealing with his own sprained ankle, Faried sat out Game 1 and was rendered ineffective in Game 2. The physical play gave him added resolve to stand up to Warriors big men Bogut, Green and Festus Ezeli.

“I’m that physical presence, that energy guy, that hustle guy,” Faried said. “I’m always ecstatic about getting hit, but this series I was kind of backing away because of the injury.

“The first game I got pushed around, the second game I got pushed around more, the third game I got fed up. I either have to man up or don’t play. I’m tired of it and I’m manning up.”

Trailing the best-of-7 series 3-2, the Nuggets can ill afford to back down in Game 6 Thursday at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors figure to come out swinging (figuratively, of course) from the opening tip, knowing that a Game 7 looms in Denver on Saturday if they fail to close out the Nuggets for the second straight time.

“I’ve been fired up. If people are just now getting fired up, they shouldn’t be in the series,” Lawson said. “I’m ready to go. Game 6 is going to be a big game. It’s going to be fun. Their crowd is rowdy. This is what we live for. This is what we play basketball for.”

It’s certainly not to inflict intentional harm on an opponent.

That goes against everything Karl and Lawson learned during their playing days at North Carolina.

“I guarantee that I’ve never wanted to hurt anybody in basketball, but I do want my team to compete and play hard,” Karl said. “I’ve always been a play-hard coach. Any player that’s every played for me, the most speeches they get are play hard and stand up and be a competitor.”

After being knocked off balance early in the series, the Nuggets are still standing.

It’s up to the Warriors to knock them down for good.

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