DENVER (AP) -- In search of their first win this season, the
Denver Nuggets were glad to have George Karl back on their bench
and the perfect opponent sitting on the other one.
"I get to express my feelings a little easier, rather than
letting them fester and kill inside," Karl said.
Darius Miles had 13 points to lead the Blazers, who did nothing
to debunk the theory that they could be the worst team in the
Western Conference -- maybe the entire league -- this season.
"I don't like losing like this," Miles said. "This was
Karl, who missed the games for violating rules that forbid
contact with players not eligible for the NBA draft, said it was
almost painful watching his team open the season. Not only did the
Nuggets lose, but they did it without running or moving the ball
around on offense the way they did when they closed last season
"It's a habit -- running all the time, pushing all the time,"
Karl said. "We haven't been putting that together for 40, 45
minutes, but we had some good stretches tonight."
Denver took a 14-point lead at halftime and scored the first
nine points of the third quarter to turn the game into a blowout.
The Blazers, meanwhile, took the fourth quarter off. They went
without a field goal for the final 6:28 and without a point for the
final 4:38. The 68 points were one more than Denver's franchise
record for fewest points allowed.
"This team was loafing in the fourth quarter," Miles said.
Camby opened the game with an alley-oop dunk off a pass from
Andre Miller (10 assists) and the Nuggets spent most of the night
getting easy buckets inside; they had eight dunks in the first
Camby was good from outside, too, spotting up from the top of
the key for three open shots in the first quarter to help Denver
push the lead to double digits.
"With George back on the bench, we are sort of a whole unit
again," he said.
Karl was fidgety before the game, eager to get back out on the
court. Once the game started, he spent most of the evening pacing
in front of his bench, even though the outcome of this game wasn't
much in doubt after the first quarter.
"We caught a young team tonight and jumped on them early," he
He had been disappointed in the pace the Nuggets played at in
the first two games, but that wasn't much of a problem in this one.
Denver finished with 32 fast-break points and moved the ball in the
halfcourt much more easily than in the grind-it-out losses to San
Antonio and Los Angeles.
One problem that wasn't solved, at least not early, was from the
Although the Nuggets made a couple of long jumpers with players
on the line, they made only one 3-pointer over the first 3½
quarters. Only at the end, with the lead at 30-plus points, did
they start making them. They finished 4-for-12 and now have made
six on the season.
Lenard, supposedly the team's best 3-point shooter, made his
first 3 of the season with 3½ minutes left. He finished with 17
points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, leaving him still in search
of his first career triple-double.
"I didn't know until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter
that I was close to a triple-double," Lenard said. "The most
important thing was that we got a win and got the monkey off our
back. Now we can go out Sunday and try to redeem ourselves" in a
game against the Lakers at Los Angeles.
Nuggets G Earl Watson, who got a $29 million contract in
the offseason, made his first appearance of the regular season with
6 minutes left. ... Portland's franchise low for points in a game
is 58, in 2001 against Cleveland.