Nuggets vs. Lakers is speed vs. power

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DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets desperately wanted to make the playoffs to get their new young roster some experience under pressure.

In coach George Karl's mind, they got a jumpstart on that.

Karl had his team treat the last seven regular season games as a playoff series, suggesting Denver had to win at least four to reach the postseason for a ninth straight season.

They won six, moving up the Western Conference ladder to the No. 6 seed and a first-round date with the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the resurgent San Antonio Spurs or the powerful Oklahoma City Thunder.