Although George Karl has spent nearly a quarter-century on NBA benches, the Denver coach can't beat down the butterflies when he thinks about the Nuggets' next game.
With a third straight victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, Denver would become just the ninth team to escape a 3-1 series deficit, completing an improbable comeback against Kobe Bryant and Co. The Nuggets have stared down two elimination games with a maturity their coach only hoped he would see in this series, sending the bigger, stronger Lakers staggering home for a big finish.
Oh, and Saturday is Karl's birthday, too.
''I'm nervous already,'' Karl said Friday before the Nuggets caught another flight to Los Angeles. ''I am 61 years old and I haven't been nervous, this nervous, for a game this early in a long time.''
Everybody on both benches should share Karl's anxious stomach - but hopefully not Bryant's upset stomach, which felt much better Friday - when they return to Staples Center to decide a...