Karl sees the Wolves' pain leading to pleasure

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2007 - 11:11 PM

The Nuggets coach made the point that experience goes a long way and that Minnesota is young.

This is Denver coach George Karl's advice for Timberwolves fans: Get used to this.

Karl was sitting in a chair outside the Denver locker room after the veteran Nuggets had caught and beat the Wolves 99-91 on Friday in Minnesota's home opener.

Know this: Karl wasn't being flippant, wasn't talking down to the Wolves. But he's been in the league a long time, and he knows the value of experience. The Nuggets won because they already have it.

"They have a lot of young kids trying to establish themselves," Karl said. "As I told [Wolves coach] Randy Wittman before the game, good luck. You have a situation where win-lose won't be the criteria. It will be how much you get better, how much you improve. How much you develop."

Talk to the Wolves and they'll say talk about being young is already getting old. But here it is:

With the adrenaline pumping and the shots falling the Wolves grabbed an early lead, up by as many as 12 points in the second quarter.

The Nuggets? What, them worry? They cut it to three by halftime, were still within three entering the fourth. Then they did what veteran teams do. They dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Wolves 25-14, holding them to 4-for-21 shooting.

"We were a little sluggish in the first quarter, but we figured it out," said Denver's Carmelo Anthony with a verbal shrug. "We kept our composure."

Anthony had what has become a typical game for him against the Wolves. He scored 33 points, 11 in the decisive fourth quarter; his three-point play against Wolves rookie Corey Brewer with 7:42 left put the Nuggets ahead for good.

"They can play, they're going to bring it every night," Anthony continued. "They play hard, and when you play hard a lot of things can fall your way. I could see them winning some games this year."

Maybe the Nuggets were just being nice. But just about everyone was impressed with how hard the Wolves play. Allen Iverson, who hit more free throws by himself (15) than the Wolves did as a team (14), talked about how well the Wolves played together.

"They have a good start there," Iverson said. "They have Al Jefferson, a guy who can play, guys who can make things happen on the basketball court. I think the sky's the limit for them."

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