Karl named Western Conference All-Star coach

Denver Nuggets Head Coach George Karl will coach the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, the league announced.

With Dallas’ 112-106 loss at the Phoenix Suns Thursday, the Nuggets (31-14, .689) clinched at least a tie with the Mavericks (30-16, .652) for the second-best record in the conference through Jan. 31. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Phil Jackson coached the West in last year’s game and is not eligible this season. In the event of a tie, the coach who most recently manned the sideline in an All-Star Game is eliminated. The Mavericks’ Rick Carlisle coached the East in the 2004 All-Star Game, while Karl last coached the West in 1998.

Under Karl, the Nuggets are on a current season-high eight-game winning streak and are having one of their best seasons since joining the NBA in 1976. Their 31-14 record ranks second in the Western Conference and ties a Nuggets NBA record for the best start in team history.

“The All-Star game is always special and I’m honored to be a part of it, but it’s a celebration of our team success, rather than individual success,” said Karl, the seventh winningest coach in NBA history. “I’m especially proud of my coaching staff and my young assistants. I’m more excited for them, knowing how much they will enjoy the experience.”

Karl becomes only the second Nuggets head coach to guide an All-Star team. Larry Brown coached the Western Conference squad to a 125-124 win in Milwaukee in the 1977 All-Star Game.

This marks the fourth time in Karl’s career he has coached in an All-Star game, the previous years being 1994, 1996 and 1998, all while head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics.

In his six seasons with the Nuggets, Karl’s 256 victories rank second in Denver franchise history (Doug Moe, 432), while his .620 winning percentage is unmatched.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played Feb. 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas and will be televised live on TNT.