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Nuggets’ Karl critical of JaVale McGee despite win

DENVER - Stastically speaking, Nuggets center JaVale McGee put up big numbers in Tuesday’s 109-97 win over the Pistons, posting 16 points and 3 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench. But Nuggets coach George Karl was critical of McGee’s play postgame on Tuesday, strongly hinting that the talented big man may not be trying quite hard enough.

“I think about four of his shots were lucky,” Karl said. “Andre (Miller) makes a steal at half-court when (McGee) was the last guy. He kind of got three or four layups or dunks on rewards that he was the last player back and fell into them more than I think he earned them.”

The $44 million man was re-signed for big bucks over the summer after a big playoff series against the Lakers. But in training camp, underdog Kosta Koufos beat out McGee for the starting center role, and as a result McGee is averaging less than 18 minutes per game so far this season, well below his career 21.2 minutes per game average. And while Karl is trying to find McGee minutes, Karl said the Nevada product needs to get in better shape.

“(McGee’s) athleticism, we have to continue to figure out how to get him more athletically into the game. The last two games, we definitely have moved in that direction,” Karl said. “And his conditioning is, right now, it seems like he just tires very quickly.”

For a recap of the Nuggets’ Tuesday night win over the Pistons, click here.

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