Denver coach George Karl wasn’t pleased with the officials’ work in Game 5. He was upset because he believed Lakers coach Phil Jackson campaigned for calls after he criticized the referees after Game 4. It wasn’t as if the Nuggets got jobbed by the refs, though. They had more fouls than the Lakers, 30-22. The Lakers shot more free throws, 35-30. But it wasn’t as if the numbers were skewed dramatically in the Lakers’ favor.
Here’s what Karl had to say:
“There’s a home-court edge and intensity to the game. I thought they (the Lakers) got the benefit of the whistle. But it just seems like (it’s) very frustrating for me to sit here and have to worry about every — like there’s gamesmanship in the press conference on refereeing. I wish it wasn’t — that’s not part of coaching for me.
“I mean, Melo (Carmelo Anthony) got beat up tonight. And the same type of attitude and actions that we had that got us to the rim and got us a lot of easy baskets. … Tonight, they defended better, at least from the standpoint of the scoreboard. The stat sheet says they defended better. They blocked more shots. We didn’t get as many paint points.
“But I’m not sure that’s the case. And I think there’s some good things that my team did, that for three quarters it was a pretty evenly matched game. I think it will be very easy to get my team ready to play for Game 6.
“I’m not going to get fined. I’m not going to get into the game of — Phil is much better at it than I am, so much more philosophical about the whistle and how it changed. It was a very difficult whistle to play, play in the game. No question about that. Every player in my locker room is frustrated, from guards to big guys.
“Look at the stat sheet. (Pau) Gasol goes after at least 20 jump shots, 20 shots to the rim and gets one foul. Our big guys have 16. I don’t know. Nene has six fouls, three or four of them don’t exist. And it’s frustrating when you take one of your best big guys off the court for that many minutes.
“But, again, it just seems like, I think (Orlando coach) Stan Van Gundy says it right. In the postgame, we’re lobbying for the league to help us with the refereeing. And this is too good of a series. It’s two good teams competing that we’re sitting here just confused by the whistle.”