At halftime of the biggest game of the Nuggets' season, coach George Karl stood before his team and said, "I'm scared to death."
The Suns shot 54.3 percent in the first half Saturday, and Marcin Gortat was looking like Kareem Abdul-Gortat.
"I think that was the worst defensive effort I've seen out of you," Karl told the Nuggets. "I can't believe we're up two points."
But the Nuggets altered their defense in the third quarter, swarming Gortat and pressuring the irritating 3-point shooters. The result was a runaway quarter and a resounding win, 118-107, clinching a playoff berth for Denver for the ninth straight season.