POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 11, 2010
TORONTO » George Karl found peace and contentment in recording a coaching milestone.
Karl earned his 1,000th coaching victory, as Al Harrington scored a season-high 31 points and Nene added 26 to help the Denver Nuggets hold off the Toronto Raptors 123-116 last night.
The seventh coach in NBA history with 1,000 wins, Karl also notched his 900th in Toronto, a 114-107 victory on Dec. 31, 2008. He shook hands with spectators as fans next to the Nuggets' bench bowed to him in the final seconds of the game.
After doing radio and television interviews on the court, Karl shared a moment of "peacefulness and contentment" with his team inside the locker room.
"I just felt together with them, I felt connected with them," Karl said. "A lot of times during an NBA season, the coach and players aren't really connected, they're fighting a lot. This was a moment, not only on the court but in the locker room afterwards, there was a great connection."
"He's one of the best coaches I've played for," Chauncey Billups said. "He's all about winning, he's all about playing the right way and sharing the basketball and everybody having their opportunities out there. I believe that's the way you win basketball games. Obviously, with 1,000 wins, he knows what he's doing."
Karl survived prostate cancer in 2005 and was treated for neck and throat cancer earlier this year, missing the end of last season while undergoing treatment.
"It's unbelievable," Billups said. "He's got 1,000 wins and he beat cancer twice. Those are his biggest wins."
Billups scored 21 points and Gary Forbes had 15 in place of the injured Carmelo Anthony as the Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak. J.R. Smith scored 11 points for Denver.
Anthony missed his second straight game because of a sore right knee, with Forbes starting in his place. Anthony, the 10th-leading scorer in the NBA at 22.8 points per game, also sat out Wednesday's loss at Boston, the only other game he's missed this season.
"Without Melo, if you'd told me we were going to get 123, I would have taken that," Karl said. "It's kind of shocking that we scored that many points."
Amare Stoudemire had 36 points and 10 rebounds to help overcome his 11 turnovers, and New York beat visiting Washington for its seventh straight victory.
Danny Granger scored 18 points to help host Indiana beat Charlotte.
Kevin Love had 27 points and 18 rebounds and Darko Milicic blocked a career-high seven shots against the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2003, leading host Minnesota over Detroit.
Russell Westbrook had 29 points and 10 assists, Kevin Durant scored 25 points and Oklahoma City beat visiting New Orleans.
Andrew Bogut had 24 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Milwaukee over Houston as the Bucks finished their homestand 3-1.
Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili scored 18 points apiece, and San Antonio won its fourth straight to keep the NBA's best record, beating visiting Atlanta.
Marcus Camby had 16 points and 18 rebounds, Brandon Roy added 26 points and Portland beat host Phoenix for its fourth straight win.
Deron Williams had a season-high 32 points and Utah beat Orlando, scoring the most points that the slumping Magic have allowed all season.
Dwyane Wade had 34 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, LeBron James added 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Miami won its seventh straight game, beating host Golden State.
Forbes 7-8 0-0 15, Williams 3-6 0-0 6, Nene 9-12 8-9 26, Billups 4-11 11-13 21, Afflalo 2-5 1-1 5, Harrington 12-19 1-1 31, Lawson 3-6 1-1 8, Smith 3-8 3-3 11, Ely 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 43-76 25-28 123.
Weems 10-17 0-0 21, Johnson 3-3 0-0 6, Bargnani 7-17 8-8 24, Bayless 1-9 0-2 3, DeRozan 3-11 0-0 6, Davis 2-3 0-0 4, Barbosa 8-12 4-6 22, Kleiza 11-16 0-1 26, Wright 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 46-90 14-19 116.