Chandler returns to New York as Nuggets open road trip

Denver forward spent three-plus seasons with Knicks before 2011 trade
by Aaron Lopez

Fanfare, flash and flamboyance are three adjectives that have rarely, if ever, appeared in the same sentence as Wilson Chandler – unless preceded by the word “without.”

The Denver Nuggets forward prefers to let his game speak for itself, and his return to Madison Square Garden will be no different.

Chandler, acquired by Denver from the New York Knicks as part of a three-team mega-deal on Feb. 22, 2011, will play at the Garden for the first time since the trade when the Nuggets open a four-game road trip Friday night.

Chandler sat out last year’s game in New York because he was recovering from a hip injury, and he was playing in China when the Nuggets visited the Big Apple during the 2011-12 season.

“A lot of people have been through there – singers, boxers, actors so it’s a real bright stage,” he said. “You always want to play good there no matter if you’re a former Knick or not.”

After missing the first six games of the season with a strained hamstring, Chandler has provided stability on the wing for a Nuggets team that has dealt with major injuries to key players Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson.

Chandler has scored in double figures in 31 of his past 35 games and is averaging 14.2 points, which ranks second on the team behind point guard Ty Lawson.

He had 24 points in Wednesday night’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, including seven straight to help the Nuggets close out the game in the final two minutes.

Chandler would be glad to do the same against the Knicks, though he insists that he won’t feel the need to prove himself all over again.

“It’ll be good,” he said. “It’s been so long that it’s not a big deal any more. It’s been three years, so it’s kind of died down.”

Chandler and the Nuggets (24-23) are more concerned about starting their final trip before the All-Star break on a winning note.

“We’re going with the attitude that we have nothing to lose but everything in the world to gain,” coach Brian Shaw said. “I’m looking forward to it.”