Arron Afflalo returns to Nuggets' lineup

DENVER -- Arron Afflalo returned to the starting lineup for the first time in two weeks as the Nuggets hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Saturday night.

Afflalo has been hobbled by a strained left hamstring, watching from the bench while the Nuggets fell into an 0-2 hole. He's tried to return three times since mid-March only to aggravate the injury.

Nuggets coach George Karl said the team has missed his "even keel" nature on the court. Afflalo is the team's top defender and go-to scorer in crunch time, especially since the February trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.

Afflalo downplayed the notion of being rusty and said his hamstring feels as good as it's felt in weeks.