Iguodala returns to Denver as Warriors face Nuggets

Swingman plays first game at Pepsi Center since moving to Golden State
by Aaron Lopez

Stuck in a three-game losing streak, Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has been trying to hammer home an important message with another Western Conference playoff contender coming to town before Christmas.

Better not pout, better not cry.

“Right now, maturity is a big thing with the team,” Shaw said after Denver fell to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night. “We are complaining and we are crying every single time a play doesn’t go right for us.

“We complain to the referees, looking for any excuse as to why something didn’t work out for us and it’s costing us at the other end. We’ve talked about punishing criers and not being criers ourselves, but we are actually the ones that are crying.

“You have to create luck and create good opportunities. You have to be pure, and if you’re not true to the game, then the game is not going to be true to us, and right now we are not being that way.”

Shaw also has been unhappy with Denver’s practice habits of late, saying the lack of focus carries over into the game. After back-to-back games against the Clippers and Phoenix Suns, the Nuggets (14-12) were off Sunday in advance of Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

Denver and Golden State (15-13) are separated by percentage points for eighth place in the West. The two teams will meet for the first time since the Warriors beat the Nuggets 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs last spring.

The game also marks the return of former Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala, who spent one year in Denver before opting to join Golden State as a free agent. Knowing Iguodala was leaving, the Nuggets worked out a three-team sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors and Utah Jazz.

Iguodala is averaging 11.2 points, 5.4 assists and 3.9 rebounds this season. He recently returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a hamstring injury.

The Warriors went 5-7 without Iguodala but have won two of three since his return, including a 19-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.

A few hundred miles to the south, the Nuggets were struggling to keep up with the Clippers. Denver trailed throughout the game and couldn’t recover from a 21-8 L.A. run to close the third quarter. The Clippers hit five 3-pointers during that stretch to take a 19-point lead into the fourth.

“Even though you don’t want to overlook the fact that we got outplayed, you’ve got to put it behind you and start looking forward to the next game,” Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler said. “Take this game as a lesson and learn from it.”


WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (14-12)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

F Andre Iguodala
F David Lee
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Faried (sprained ankle) is day-to-day; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) are out.
GOLDEN STATE: Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery), Ognjen Kuzmic (fifth metacarpal fracture, right hand) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.

The Nuggets have gone 16-2 at home against the Warriors since the start of the 2003-04 season (23-10 overall, 7-8 at Oakland) . . . Denver had not lost a season series against Golden State since the 2002-03 season (0-4) before going 1-2 in 2011-12 . . . Denver has won at least two games against Golden State in eight of the past nine season . . . The Warriors hold the Pepsi Center record for most points scored by an opponent with 129 in a losing effort against the Nuggets on 11/24/06 (Denver won 140-129) . . . The Nuggets set a team record with 52 assists at Golden State on 4/21/89.