Here are Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan's post-game comments after Thursday night's 86-83 win over the Denver Nuggets in the Rose Garden.
Being down, shorthanded as far as players, everybody has to come together and give a little extra. I thought guys did tonight. Tonight we knew it was going to be a battle, our defense was really good, we got movement in our offense, we made adjustments during the game with our zone. Were able to get ourselves back in the game. But they played together. I thought we played together on both ends of the floor.
Defense on Carmelo
Wesley started out on him. You don't start Carmelo, you try to make it hard, deny his catches, force his catch out. I thought Wesley did a good job of doing that. Nicolas, when he had an opportunity, he did it. But it started with Wesley. And then try to keep him off the free throw line. Don't allow him straight line drives. Make him shoot contested shots. If you can do that, that's about all you can do. I thought Wesley did a good job. I thought our weakside was really tight. We didn't show lanes to the basket tonight and then we rebounded the ball.
Going to Andre Miller more down the stretch?
Yeah. Certainly. We're going to put the ball in Andre's hands. We're going to play through LaMarcus and take some match-ups, if we feel comfortable with them. They had Lawson out on the floor, so we tried to get that match-up with Miller. We're going to play through Miller and LaMarcus.
11-22 as a team on free throws. Anything to say on that?
We're a good free throw shooting team. Tonight we were missing, I think we were 1-6 in the first half. That's not us. But I like the fact that we went to the line the second half. We quit settling for jump shots and we started driving the ball and got into the penalty early.
Most important win of the season?
We've got to get better. It's as simple as that. We were not sharp going down the stretch. We're going to have to execute with the guys that were out there. This is a good win for us, no doubt. It's a division game, it's Denver, a team we've had some trouble against. It's a home game. All of that makes this a very important game.
They switch a lot so I thought our bigs did a good job of crashing the boards. When they were switching our bigs went to the glass. Gave us second and third opportunities. Even though we were shooting a low percentage in the first half, we had 50 attempts. We were getting opportunities at the basket.
Responding to adversity so well
You look at the players that we have. You play the game together and you play hard. I feel if you play hard and you play together, you're going to have a chance to win games. It happens. These guys have done that. They respond, guys get opportunities, and they've been able to respond. It's one game, we've got another division opponent coming in Saturday with Utah. A team that has had our number the last year or so.
Also, some great quotes from Denver Nuggets coach George Karl.
On the no-call at the end of regulation when Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo appeared to be fouled by Wesley Matthews while attempting a potential game-tying three-pointer.
Obviously everybody in the building thought it was a foul. I thought the fans even thought it was a foul. The fans went 'huuuuuhh.' I didn't look at it so I don't know for sure, but it was a tough whistle to get, you don't usually get that on the road, but I thought that was a foul.
On Portland's injury situation
They're still a very good team. Every team goes through injuries. [Portland Trail Blazers coach] Nate [McMillan] doesn't cry about it. They're a talented, playoff team with the injuries they have. I wish the best to Greg [Oden].
On defending LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds (including 7 offensive rebounds)
I thought we did a hell of a job on [Aldridge] except for one thing: offensive rebounding. He was Pau Gasol'ing us on the tips on the rim, tipping the balls in. He's going to make some shots, but if you take away his offensive rebounds I think probably we defended him as well as I expect us to defend him.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter