DENVER -- The DVDs on top of Nuggets coach
But the film Karl studies the closest these days isn't even from this season. It's last year's NBA Finals.
"We studied Houston," said Karl, whose team trails the Lakers 2-1 in the conference finals entering Game 4 on Monday. "But I think the film that we studied more is Boston. We think we play more like Boston than Houston. We studied the Boston tapes from last year more than the Houston tapes."
As the Nuggets' coaches watched Boston stifle L.A.'s vaunted offensive attack on its way to a six-game series win, they couldn't help but wonder: Why can't we do the same things? While no one in Denver's brain trust believed the Nuggets were as defensively skilled as Boston, the elements to implement the Celtics' game plan were there.
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The Lakers say they see a lot of Boston's strategies in Denver's schemes.
"They are putting a lot of guys at the basketball," guard
"At the same time, it's not as though when they do that and the ball is passed around, we're getting open shots," Fisher continued. "They are really good at contracting their defense, so when you pass it out they are still contesting the shot. Nothing is coming easy for us."
In certain areas, the Nuggets have not come close to matching Boston's success.
The Nuggets are encouraged by the fact that even though the Lakers are making shots, those attempts are being contested. Several players pointed to Gasol's 20-point, 7-of-12 performance in L.A.'s Game 3 victory as an example.
"Gasol made a lot of tough shots that we can live with," point guard
The Nuggets are also mindful of the fact that if not for a handful of boneheaded technical fouls and two poor inbounds passes, they could be up 3-0 in this series instead of trailing 2-1. Which is why instead of talking about the need to retool the game plan, players spoke Sunday about how they could continue to build on Boston's blueprint from last year.
"Boston was so much more physical than they were," Billups said. "They didn't give up a lot of layups and they didn't give up a lot in transition. We're capable of doing those kinds of things. I can't say that our team is as good defensively as Boston was last year, but we do have a pretty good defensive basketball team."
Said Martin: "We just put our own twist on things. [Karl] tells us the way they beat them was being physical, but that's just the way we play. We got guys who like to throw their bodies around and don't mind the contact. We have got a point guard who runs into people. 'Melo throw his body around. Dahntay doesn't mind the contact, myself,