LOS ANGELES -- There might be 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters and Jack Nicholson sitting courtside, but Staples Center is not an intimidating place to play, according to Denver Nuggets coach George Karl.
"This is not a hot building. It's kind of a stage. It's a Broadway stage," Karl said before the Nuggets took on the Lakers in Game 2 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series on Tuesday. "It has a history and an energy to it, but it's not one of those where you can't hear or sometimes you're afraid to feel (the opposing crowd). This is more of a stage than an intense building like Oklahoma City (has) or something like that."
Prior to the 2006-07 season, the Lakers adopted theatre style lighting for their home games at Staples Center similar to the lighting scheme used at Madison Square Garden during New York Knicks games. The lighting shines on the court, leaving the seats darkened much like a Broadway show.
"Hot building" or not, home-court advantage seemed to be working for the Lakers in Game 1 on Sunday when they won 103-88 and held the Nuggets to just 36.5 percent shooting from the field.
The Lakers have performed well at their home arena in the playoffs since it opened prior to the 1999-2000 season. The Lakers have won 82 percent of their postseason home games at Staples Center all-time (77-17).
Karl said his No. 6-seeded Nuggets welcome the challenge of having to start their series against the No. 3-seeded Lakers on the road.
"I think we like playing on the road," Karl said. "We've been better on the road than we've been at home."