Shortly after Denver traded star forward Carmelo Anthony to New York on Feb. 22, Nuggets coach George Karl was critical of Anthony's defense. That resulted in Anthony going right to Twitter.
"When the grass is cut the snakes will show," Anthony wrote.
Now, Karl is a bit more careful when talking about defensive shortcoming the Nuggets had before the trade was made. Anthony has been considered erratic on defense by many and there's also a belief that guard Chauncey Billups, also shipped to the Knicks in the trade, has lost a step at 34.
"When you put more than one or two, whatever you want to label, mediocre, average defenders, you weaken your defense," Karl said of the Nuggets before the trade. "It's not only individual defense, it's team defense. And so when there's more than one hole, it's difficult to figure out conceptually how we cover."
Is Karl referring to possible defensive shortcomings of Anthony and Billups?
"There are some other guys on that list," said Karl, who didn't give names but said he also was referring to some players still on the team, players who apparently now have shown more interest in defense..
Karl now says he should have been more demanding with Anthony when it came to defense. Karl arrived in Denver in January 2005 when the forward was in his second season.
"I think you've got to blame me some," Karl said. "When I got here, we kind of exploded as an offensive team and we never could get the defensive demand in the game. And as a coach you always try to manage your strengths and camouflage your weaknesses. As a coach, I might not have been demanding enough defensively."
Karl is more demanding now. Defense is considered the key reason why the Nuggets are 13-4 since the trade.
"That's what coach is pretty much preaching... defense," said Denver guard Ty Lawson.
NUGGETS 104, KINGS 90: The Nuggets won Wednesday at the Pepsi Center because they realized Sacramento eventually would tire after playing the night before while the Nuggets hadn't played since last Friday. After trailing 51-41 at halftime, Denver outscored the Kings 63-39 in the second half. Guard Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 20. Guard Marcus Thornton had a game-high 27 for the Kings.
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