Bucks' Karl rips Mutombo, Sixers' defense
One day after the Sixers beat Milwaukee 93-85 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, Karl wasn't about to give Philadelphia any credit.
"Philly has an amazing ability to foul a lot and never get called for it," Karl said Wednesday. "They are the best slashing and rippering team in the league. They have a great defensive reputation, but I wish they would have to earn it.
"Without [injured forward George] Lynch, they're not as great defensively as they were, and I still think the referees think they're a great defensive team. They're not great defensively and they foul a lot."
Sixers guard Eric Snow simply brushed aside the comments the day before Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.
"Get used to it," Snow said after Wednesday's practice. "He's going to say off-the-wall stuff the whole series. You just have to know him. You can't read into it or buy it. The main thing is he respects us."
Mutombo isn't so sure about the respect part. Before the series, Karl said the 7-foot-2 center wouldn't impact his team and called him "irrelevant."
After Mutombo scored 15 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked four shots Tuesday night, Karl didn't change his opinion.
"Mutombo's influence is more on the offensive boards than on the defensive, and our problem wasn't Mutombo; it was our shot selection," Karl said. "I have tremendous respect for Mutombo. We don't go down there [inside] very much. So is he as much a concern to us as he is to Shaq [O'Neal] or [Tim] Duncan? No."
Mutombo said he's used to taking shots from Karl, who coached against him in Seattle when he played for Denver.
"I have to go find the clips in the house," Mutombo joked. "I think he likes to play a psychological game. I think he understands the game is as much mental as it is physical. For a guy who has been in the league as long as I have, I don't get caught up in what people say. I don't care about somebody who tries to criticize me for no reason."
Karl already managed to get into Allen Iverson's head during the season. Before the Sixers played in Milwaukee on Feb. 13, Iverson said Karl came up to him, congratulated him for winning the MVP award in the All-Star Game then said he thought Mutombo deserved to get it.
"After hearing what he thinks of Dikembe, I was confused. What does he think of me?" Iverson said. "When you start getting into verbal battles, it takes away from the game."
Nobody expects the Bucks to shoot as poorly as they did in the opener. Milwaukee, which relies on its jump shooting, missed several open shots early, fell behind by 16 points at halftime and never recovered.
Ray Allen scored 31 points and Sam Cassell added 20, but the rest of the Bucks shot 30 percent and combined for 34 points. Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson missed nine of his first 10 shots and finished with 15 points.
"I don't think it matters who scores for us," Allen said. "We have to set aside agendas and just go out and play basketball."
Karl thought his team just wasn't ready to play.
"We didn't play with a sense of urgency," he said. "We approached it like it was a regular-season game and not the finals of a conference."
Iverson, who was slowed by a bruised right hip and buttocks, managed to score 34 points on 13-of-35 shooting. He promised to get a lot more if Milwaukee gives him the same looks in Game 2.
"I don't think I'll miss the easy shots I missed," he said. "They probably think they played good defense against me because I missed a lot of shots."