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Former Nuggets coach Karl reflects on 2009 WCF against Lakers and current team's chances

The last two times the Nuggets have made the conference finals, it’s been the Lakers that have ended their dream of making an NBA Finals appearance.

Former Nuggets head coach George Karl said he still hates the Lakers. 


And with good reason too.

Kobe Bryant’s 2009 Lakers stopped Karl's team from making a finals appearance, beating Denver in six games in the Western Conference Finals, all the way back 11 years ago. 

The last two times the Nuggets have made the conference finals, it’s been the Lakers that have ended their dream of making an NBA Finals: the aforementioned 2008-2009 season and during the 1984-1985 season.

“That was the closest, I think, to winning a championship that I got. Your whole [goal] as a coach is to hold the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of a season. Something I always would’ve loved to have and you remember the moments where you were really close," Karl told 9NEWS on Thursday. 

Karl hasn’t been at the helm of a Nuggets team since the 2012-2013 season; a season which capped off the fourth straight first-round exit made by Denver in the playoffs. 

Karl now gets to sit back and watch the 2019-2020 Nuggets keep proving people wrong. 

“I think it’s a historical run. Not only in Denver history but I think maybe in NBA history, to comeback from 3-1. How (Nikola) Jokic and (Jamal) Murray have become a two-some at the offensive end of the court in the fourth quarter, that is as good as anybody in the NBA right now. That’s a powerful thing to have," Karl said. 

Starting on Friday, the Nuggets will have to face the King of the NBA, Lakers star Lebron James, who Karl is familiar with. 

“When we would play against Lebron, we wanted him to play one-on-one and try to be an offensive player rather than a facilitator. I still think that’s probably the way to go. I think Michael Malone and his coaching staff will have to have at least two or three different plans on how to play him. His greatness has been proven. I would try to make an emphasis of maybe putting pressure on their bench or Anthony Davis to be more responsible for success," Karl said. 

As for a prediction, Karl says the Nuggets cannot do what they have done the last two series, and that is go down three games to one. 

“I think it’s a closer series than people are giving it. National people aren’t giving them [Denver] much love. I think what’s important is, Denver can’t get down 3-1. I hope they get a win in the first couple of games. The shorter the series that you can make it, you never know what can happen," Karl said. 

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