Nuggets Take on Doubters

Even after Denver's Game 1 victory over the Spurs, Marcus Camby knows there are still plenty of doubters.

``It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks,'' the Nuggets' center said. ``Our mind-set is that us 15 players out here, (we're) the only ones who probably really think we can beat the Spurs.''

Oddsmakers have made San Antonio -8.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 194 total points (View NBA Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Denver +8.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Denver will try to pull off a real stunner - winning two games on the Spurs' home floor - in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Denver coach George Karl, far from the easiest coach to please, said these Nuggets have won him over.

``I can't deny I like this team. It's a really weird thing for me, because in a very short period of time, I know this team probably more than I knew the team last year,'' Karl said Tuesday. ``This team is strong. It has a soul. It has a substance to it that I don't think any team I've had since I've been in Denver, has had.''

And while San Antonio's mainstays have been together for several years, Denver has been a work in progress since adding Allen Iverson in a December trade.

``We're trying to grow up in an eight to 10 week period of time and they've had eight to 10 years to grow up,'' Karl said Tuesday.

Iverson and Carmelo Anthony are Denver's headliners, but Camby is its defensive anchor, leading the league this season in blocked shots (3.3 per game). He had eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in the sixth-seeded Nuggets' 95-89 win over the third-seeded Spurs on Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

``You have to respect him, you can't leave him wide open,'' Spurs guard Tony Parker said of Camby.

The Nuggets appear to be peaking at the perfect time, having won 10 of 11 entering the playoffs.

``They've got a complete basketball team,'' Spurs forward Robert Horry said Monday. ``Next year they're probably going to be even more dangerous, probably going to be one, two or three seed.''

Camby, the 1996 second overall draft pick, said this is the best team he's played on in five seasons with the Nuggets.

``We've just got to seize the moment,'' Camby said. ``And why not shoot for the championship right now and try to repeat next year? But it's still going to be tough. There's a lot of great teams still left in the playoffs, but I like our chances.''

Camby is Denver's best defensive player, but in Game 1 the rest of the Nuggets contributed on that end, too.

``A lot of people were talking about we only have one defender on this team,'' Camby said. ``But guys take on individual challenges. ... Everyone's covering for each other out there on the court.''

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the Spurs aren't lamenting Sunday's loss.

``We're never impressed with wins and never depressed with losses,'' he said. ``It's about what we did well, what we did poorly, in either a loss or a win and then trying to get better.''

Karl is taking a similar approach.

``Don't get crazy on how to win, get crazy on preparing for the next game,'' he said.

Parker said he just wants to get on the court, especially after waiting two days between games, something both teams' coaches and several players said is mentally taxing.

``I can't wait for tomorrow, can't wait to go back at it and try to play better and (with) a lot more energy and a lot more intensity,'' Parker said.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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