SAN FRANCISCO — When Aaron Gordon jackhammered a dunk six minutes into the first quarter of Game 1, he looked like the player the Nuggets desperately need in their first-round matchup against Golden State.

When he settled for a 3-pointer after the Warriors deployed a double-team on Nikola Jokic, he did exactly what Golden State hoped he’d do. Gordon finished Game 1 with just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and just three trips to the free-throw line. Collectively, Denver’s lack of aggression was glaring.

Before the start of the third quarter, two-way guard Markus Howard had an extended chat with Gordon and reminded him of who he is.

“I was just telling him, ‘No one can really stop (you) down low,’” Howard said. “… I was just conveying to him just to be a monster, the beast that he is.”

Howard also shared an observation with Gordon, who was receptive to the feedback.

“The games he’s had a lot of success shooting the ball from outside the arc or even in the mid-range, has been when he started in the post,” Howard told Denver’s starting small forward. Build from inside-out, he told him.

Perhaps an adjustment’s coming ahead of Monday’s Game 2. No matter if Gordon is going against Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins, he has a size and strength advantage over both of them. The next step is making the game easier for himself and pounding the ball inside rather than fading away from contact.

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