Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/28

Game 1: Friday, January 28th
Nuggets106Final
Bucks100
Game 2: Sunday, March 20th
Bucks103Final
Nuggets114

Nuggets 106

(18-25, 6-16 away)

Bucks 100

(15-26, 10-10 home)

Coverage: ALT

7:30 PM ET, January 28, 2005

BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 20 29 19 38106
MIL 31 19 30 20100

Top Performers

Denver: M. Camby 14 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

Milwaukee: D. Gadzuric 19 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Blk

Melo leads six Nuggets in double figures

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- George Karl made a triumphant return to the NBA at the expense of his former team.

"I'm going to drink beer," Karl said after directing the Denver Nuggets to a 106-100 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. "Beer tastes like champagne after wins like tonight."

Out of the NBA since the Bucks fired him in 2003, Karl took over the Nuggets on Thursday. Denver fired Jeff Bzdelik on Dec. 28, and Michael Cooper coached the team on an interim basis before Karl's hiring.

Acknowledging that he was rusty, Karl gave most of the credit to his players for the victory and said he coached against his former team as if it was a playoff game.

"You always want to win against your former team," Denver's Marcus Camby said. "He didn't say publicly he wanted to beat the Bucks, but you could just tell he wanted this one real bad."

Karl said he forgot to practice new offensive plays against zone defenses at his team's practice Friday morning, but the Nuggets used their old plays to rip Milwaukee's zone in the final quarter, outscoring the Bucks 38-20.

"The fourth quarter was our downfall," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said.

Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points for Denver, which overcame a 14-point deficit to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Nuggets used a 26-4 run to take a 92-84 lead with 4:12 left.

Karl said he was frustrated by his team's defense at times as Milwaukee scored 31 points in the first quarter and 30 in the third.

"I hate 30-point quarters and I lost my temper both times," Karl said. "You've got to be really bad to give up 30 points."

In the final quarter, though, it was the Bucks who played poor defense, blowing a double-digit lead.

"You've got to have a killer instinct and we didn't have that," Porter said. "We haven't had that all year for the most part."

Milwaukee pulled to 103-100 on Maurice Williams' 3-pointer with 23 seconds left. Denver's Andre Miller then hit a free throw with 21 seconds to go, and Marcus Camby scored on a tipin after Miller missed his second free-throw attempt.

Earl Boykins scored 17 points, and Nene added 13 for the Nuggets. Both players had nine points in the final quarter.

"We got stops in the fourth quarter and we were able to score," Boykins said. "That was really the key."

Michael Redd scored 26 points for Milwaukee, and Dan Gadzuric tied a career high with 19 points.

Milwaukee missed 12 of its first 14 shots in the fourth quarter, allowing the Nuggets to get back into the game.

Game notes


Denver F Kenyon Martin strained his right groin strain in the fourth quarter and is listed as a game-time decision for the Nuggets' game at Indiana Saturday night. ... Karl received many more cheers than boos when he was announced by the PA announcer before the game. ... Karl remained seated until after the first timeout of the first quarter, then started standing on the sideline. ... Bucks F Zaza Pachulia left the game in the second quarter because of a knee injury. He returned in the fourth quarter. ... Karl only used eight players in the game. ... Denver's reserves outscored Milwaukee's backups 37-12.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DEN
MIL
Points 106 100
FGM-FGA 43-83 (.518) 37-84 (.440)
3PM-3PA 1-8 (.125) 4-11 (.364)
FTM-FTA 19-27 (.704) 22-26 (.846)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-42 14-42
Assists 27 22
Turnovers 9 12
Steals 9 6
Blocks 6 2
Fast Break Points 14 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 21 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 14

Top Performers

Denver
Milwaukee
Marcus Camby Camby
Points: 14
Reb: 9
Ast: 4
Stl: 2
Blk: 3
Dan Gadzuric Gadzuric
Points: 19
Reb: 14
Ast: 0
Stl: 0
Blk: 1