The Suns’ treacherous three-game stretch continues with a home date against the Nuggets.
Denver has been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this year in that they’ve been at the top of the bunched up West behind the Lakers, whereas many pundits thought they’d be near the bottom of it.
The Billups-A.I. deal has worked out great, with Billups providing a true point guard to a team lacking a floor general.
The Suns will have to contend with a balanced Denver unit led by Carmelo Anthony’s 21 points per game that continues with four other players averaging over 12 ppg.
Fans should expect a quick game with the Nuggets among the fastest teams in the NBA in pace factor and the Suns doing some pushing of their own of late.
Last year the final scores between these teams were 137-115, 126-113, 132-117 and 126-120, and there was of course the 139-137 overtime game in 2005-06. These teams haven’t played a game with both teams under 100 since Jan. 21, 2004, when Steve Nash was still in Dallas.
So although I’d definitely bet the over in this one when I’m in Vegas for the Las Vegas Bowl, Arizona’s first bowl trip in 10 years (which will mean a late write-up of this one), Denver’s improvement in the standings stems from its defense.
The Nuggets have actually been better defensively than offensively (fifth in defensive efficiency to seventh in offensive efficiency) entering Friday.
But this is still Denver-Phoenix, and after watching the Suns and Blazers light up the scoreboard, I wouldn’t expect anything less than an old-fashioned shootout Saturday night.