Who needs Carmelo Anthony?
That could be what the Denver Nuggets are asking themselves after the team rolled off another win without the superstar forward.
The team beat the Atlanta Hawks 102-87 on Wednesday night. That is the Nuggets' ninth win against only two defeats since they traded Anthony.
Without Anthony playing a starring role, Karl is never quite sure who's going to stand out on any given night.
He likes it that way.
"The other team can't know what we're going to do because we don't know what we're going to do," Karl said. "I just enjoy coaching them and they enjoy playing right now. Everybody had their moment. It's kind of a fun team. I don't know who's going to finish most nights."
The Knicks, who have lost three games in a row, are only 6-6 since the trade.
Anyone can see the Nuggets having more fun after dealing with the months-long saga involving Melo's future, spreading the ball around, playing fierce defense and exuding a chemistry that seemed to be missing before.
"It's fun to play basketball the right way," Kenyon Martin said. "It always has been, always will be. When everybody's out there sharing the ball, everybody's involved, it just makes everyone want to play that much harder on the defensive end."
Atlanta's All-Star center, Al Horford, was envious after watching Denver pull away.
"They really spread you out," he said. "They have six or seven weapons. They're a great team. We play like that at times. Other times, we don't. We'd be a better team if we played like them."
It looked as if the game would go down to the wire when Zaza Pachulia flipped in a putback, pulling the Hawks to 72-69 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
But Denver dominated the rest of the way, outscoring the home team 30-18. The Nuggets hardly missed in the fourth quarter, making 12 of 18 from the field — including four 3-pointers.
Smith knocked down three of those, part of a 6-of-7 fourth quarter after he took only three shots — and missed them all — over the first three quarters.
There seems to have been bad blood between Anthony and the Nuggets since he was moved. Karl told Sports Illustrated that he didn't like the way the team was playing prior to the trade.
"Do you like watching that kind of basketball?" he asked the magazine. "I don't either."
Anthony, meanwhile, said he thinks his old team wants him to flop in the Big Apple.
"I really think they kind of don't want me to have success in New York, the way I look at it," he said Tuesday.
"I try not to think about that," he added. "[I played] in Denver seven-and-a-half years. For me to move on was a hard thing to do. This is a business, and I've cut my ties there."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.