- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

DENVER — Pepsi Center, the site of last night’s late game between the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets, has not been a good place for Eastern Conference teams to play.

Following Denver’s win over Milwaukee over the weekend, the Nuggets were 13-1 at home against the Eastern Conference.

The Nuggets’ overall success this season largely can be attributed to the impact coach George Karl has had on the team. When Denver (35-30) fired coach Jeff Bzdelik it was a wretched 17-25. In fact, the Nuggets had lost 16 of their last 20 games before Bzdelik got the boot.

But Karl has turned things around. Before last night’s game Denver was 18-5 under Karl and had won 11 of its last 12 games. In each of their three previous games, the Nuggets never trailed.

The Nuggets have the best record since the All-Star break, and they are playing so well these days that Karl sounded pessimistic following their 114-103 victory over the Bucks.

“We’ve got to be a great defensive team to have any chance in the playoffs,” Karl said of the Nuggets, currently eighth in the West.

In fact, Karl has the Nuggets playing so well he could be excused for not wearing a suit last night. It was throwback night and the Nuggets wore their uniforms from the 1975-76 season. Karl sported the jersey over a white turtleneck and completed the casual attire with sweatpants.

Kwame back, Peeler out

Last night saw the return of Kwame Brown to the starting lineup after a two-game absence because of the flu. Reserve guard Anthony Peeler did not make the trip, remaining home to continue treatment on his right knee. In addition, the muscle around his lower quadriceps has atrophied because of lack of use. Peeler hasn’t played since March 4.

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