Wilson Chandler could be Nuggets starting center for Game 3

Denver coach George Karl looking for better matchups against Golden State's pick-and-roll
by Aaron Lopez

SAN FRANCISCO – Seeking better defensive matchups, Nuggets coach George Karl said Friday he is leaning toward re-inserting Kenneth Faried into the starting lineup in place of center Kosta Koufos.

“I’m not guaranteeing it, though,” Karl said after the team’s shootaround.

If Karl sticks with that plan, Denver’s starting lineup for Game 3 against the Golden State Warriors would look like this: point guard Ty Lawson, shooting guard Evan Fournier, center Wilson Chandler, power forward Faried and small forward Andre Iguodala.

After Golden State beat the Nuggets in Game 2, Karl said the Warriors frequently targeted Koufos and backup center JaVale McGee on the pick-and-roll. Chandler and Faried are more active and skilled in that area.

“We have to be a defensive-minded team,” Karl said. “If we aren’t, if we try to outshoot or outrun or outscore this team, I think they have some advantages. We have to initiate our game defensively.”

The Nuggets averaged a league-leading 19.9ß points off turnovers during the regular season but had just 12 in Game 2. Karl believes his team needs to be more aggressive and more physical.

“They’re the team setting the hard screens. They’re the team boxing out more physically than we are,” Karl said. “They’re challenging us to be more physical and I think we will be.”

Though he’s only 6-foot-8, Chandler is a good rebounder who can guard just about any position. He will have his hands full with Golden State’s 7-foot center Andrew Bogut.

“Whatever helps us win,” Chandler said.

It can’t be any tougher than the last time Chandler started at center. While playing for the New York Knicks on Nov. 29, 2009, he was called up to guard Dwight Howard, then with the Orlando Magic.

“Not really good,” Chandler said of the results.

Howard finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds in a 114-102 victory.