Nuggets shuffle lineup as they seek first win of the season
Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton set to start Tuesday against San Antonio
Seeking energy and improved perimeter shooting, Denver coach Brian Shaw is shuffling his lineup as the Denver Nuggets look for their first victory of 2013-14.
Kenneth Faried, who started 80 games last season, will return to his familiar role Tuesday night against the defending Western Conference-champion San Antonio Spurs, while Jordan Hamilton will get the call at small forward.
“We’re still searching and trying to figure it out,” Shaw said after practice Monday. “If anything else, they have to honor (Hamilton) out to the 3-point line. If they do that, it gives us more space on the interior to throw the ball inside or pass and cut.”
Hamilton, who has started three games in his two NBA seasons, did not play in Denver’s first two games – a road loss at Sacramento and a home loss to Portland. He has been working diligently on his outside shot and familiarizing himself with Shaw’s offensive and defensive systems.
“It’s just a learning process for me,” Hamilton said. “It’s like I’m a rookie all over again. I have to fight for my spot and I’ve got to continue to work hard every day.
“We have great players on this team. It’s just confidence and believing I’m going to do it. I know I’m going to do it, especially with the opportunity I’m going to get with the start.”
Starting is nothing new for Faried, the 22nd overall pick in 2011, but he came off the bench in Denver’s first two games this year while recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained midway through training camp.
Faried will replace J.J. Hickson, while Hamilton will supplant Anthony Randolph, who is nursing a sprained ankle.
“It won’t be that much different,” Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson said. “I know how (Faried) plays. Jordan, he likes to shoot (and is) a good 3-point shooter. I know if I give it to him wide open, he’ll knock it down.”
Through two games, the Nuggets rank 29th in field goal percentage (.393), and they will have to be more efficient if they want to knock off the Spurs.
San Antonio lost to Denver by four points in the preseason while playing without their nucleus of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Those three figure to see plenty of minutes on Tuesday.
“They’re a team that any mistake that you make, they will make you pay for it,” Shaw said. “Some guys were saying it’s not a situation you want to go into when you’re 0-2 to try to get your first win of the season, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’ll be a good challenge for us. We’re going to have to perfect all of the little things if we want to accomplish great things.”
SPURS AT NUGGETS
WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; 104.3 FM, AM-950
SAN ANTONIO (2-1)
F Kawhi Leonard
F Tim Duncan
C Tiago Splitter
G Danny Green
G Tony Parker
DENVER: Lawson (left glute muscle group bruise) and Kenneth Faried (lower back bruise) are probable; Wilson Chandler (hamstring strain) and Danilo Gallinari (knee) are out.
SAN ANTONIO: None to report.
The Nuggets have lost four of their last seven home games to San Antonio . . . Denver has lost eight out of 13 overall games to the Spurs (four of those coming in Denver) . . . By going 0-2 at home and 2-0 on the road against the Spurs in 2009-10, it marked only the second time in team history that a season series finished with those results – the other being 1994-95 against the Lakers . . . San Antonio actually has a winning record in Denver over the last 22 years – having gone 30-18 since the 1989-90 season . . . The most points Denver has ever scored in a half as a member of the NBA came at San Antonio on 11/7/90, scoring 90 in the first half . . . The fewest points Denver has ever scored in a half also occurred at San Antonio. The Nuggets tied a team record with 22 points in the first half, including a team record-low 3 points in the first quarter, on 11/27/02 . . . The Spurs have put up big numbers against the Nuggets themselves, setting a team record with 91 points in the second half at Denver on 1/11/84, including a team-best 53 in the fourth quarter.