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.