Preview: Phoenix Suns (15-20) at Denver Nuggets (20-16)


Denver Nuggets 132, Phoenix Suns 98

Suns

Nuggets

PHOENIX — While the Denver Nuggets inch closer and closer to landing a blockbuster deal that would send Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, all the Phoenix Suns want is to start winning quarters, halves, and eventually games.

“Right now we need to have some success quarter by quarter by quarter. Right now I think we have to, if you want to call it microcompeting or whatever, but we have to win quarters, we have to win halves and we have to win games before we even consider anything about the playoffs,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “We’ve got to get to the point of feeling that we have some consistency working.”

The Suns were able to sneak by the Cavaliers on Sunday, but Cleveland sits at the bottom of the NBA standings and it took 13 Suns three-pointers and 39.3 percent shooting from the Cavs for Phoenix to edge them in an eight-point victory.

With competition ramping up and the Suns sitting three and a half games behind Portland for the eighth spot in the West, Phoenix needs to starting stringing together some good stretches of basketball.

Consistency has been an issue all season long, and the Suns struggled with that even against Cleveland. They trailed for the entire first half and looked like the lifeless team that lost 11 of its last 14 games prior. Although they were able to put together a run and sneak past the Cavaliers, the Nuggets are quite a step up from a team that’s lost 10 straight.

The Suns finally spread the floor, knocked down threes and cracked the century mark after failing to do so for four straight games. But as Steve Nash said, “We’ve got to prove it every day.”

Tonight the Suns have to prove it against a struggling, but capable Denver team. The Nuggets are currently mired in a three-game losing streak amid all of the Carmelo trade rumors, with two of those losses came to the Clippers and the Kings.

Anthony scored only eight points on 3-for-11 shooting in their last game against New Orleans, while Chauncey Billups — who is also involved in the deal — shot 2-for-12. The Nuggets are clearly struggling, but even though the Suns gained a small victory with a win over the Cavs, Phoenix is still searching for answers.

“Frustration’s been mounting for about three months. It’s hard. This is very difficult,” Nash said after the Cavs game. “Just trying to fight through it and stay positive every day is a challenge. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and gain your perspective and when you get back out there the fire burns and the frustration’s there.”

The Suns will have to overcome that frustration without 38-year-old Grant Hill, who is out with a mildly sprained knee, according to The Arizona Republic. Josh Childress, who’s been in and out of the rotation, will start alongside Nash, Carter, Channing Frye and Robin Lopez.

Beating the lowly Cavs doesn’t prove that the Suns have fixed all of their issues, but a win against a sputtering Nuggets team would give Phoenix some confidence to build on.

“Confidence is just so crucial in these kind of situations and you just have to get back to the part where the guys share a little bit of success so the guys can recapture that,” Gentry said. “I think for the most part our guys are real confident, but I think you need something tangible to show for it, too.”

  • Mel.

    Consistency. How about we start by building a steady rotation and implementing clearly-defined bench roles, Alvin?

  • elway

    Agreed. I’d like the rotation as follows..
    Starters:
    Lopez
    Frye
    Grant Hill
    Vinsanity
    Nash
    Bench:
    Warrick
    Gortat
    Pietrus
    Dragic
    Dudley

  • Andrew

    Hey elway what about Chilly?

  • Sam

    The Phoenix Suns are a disappointing team. Frye, Warrick, Dragic all need to be playing in D League.

  • YAYO

    Start. Rebuilding. Now.

  • Mel.

    Soooo… we’re down 25 in the 4th. How about an upbeat topic? Like who we’ll all be watching once the regular season ends, being that our boys’ chances of making the playoffs appear to be about one in three and a half billion, at this point?

    I think I’ll opt in as an Orlando playoff bandwagoner. Watching J-Rich should be fun, if nothing else.

  • Mel.

    Okay, I rescind my earlier cynicism. It could be worse. We could be Cleveland.

  • MY PHOENIX AZ

    I hate that I even have to comment on this board, the fact that the Suns suck is an understatement, especially when the team never plays up to it’s potintial, Frye is soft and when he has a strong game it’s once in a billion, nash can not carry the team w/o shooters, gortat was coming off the bench for a reason and now still is after Lopez so go figure, Dudley has his moments but clearly is not cut out to be the man, Goran is disappointing after last year, Vince keep chucking, and everyone else is a role players role player. I hate the team blow it up…trade Nash to a better team I will live w/ it or just trade the franchise considering the organization will not pay decent players to play in phoenix. There is no chance at Melo……I’m African American……GoOOO Coyotes or something. Better yet I will just continue rooting for the Mercury since they have better shooters by far and are plenty exciting to watch except for no dunks kinda like the suns but better shooting.

  • Nathan

    The above comment actually freaking sums this whole mess up. Hollinger was right when he said management ruined this team. Good thing we played hardball with amar’e in his free agency, no sense in paying for a max contract when you could have a season like this for the same price!!

  • JZ

    You know what’s the worst part? The fact that the game against Cleveland was a close one until the 4th quarter for the Suns…while it only took one quarter for the Lakers to complete pulverize the Cavs and send the team packing. The rookie Harris looked like a freaking vet scoring 27 points against the suns and was ineffective against the Lakers…I will also be watching the Orlando Magic come playoff season to see JRich shoot 3′s.
    Suns have been a disappointment this season that I laughed so hard as I checked the score in the 4th quarter and started rooting for Denver to keep building the lead. Props to Affalo for being another role player that drop a career game on the Suns.
    Anyone got a DeLorean with Plutonium?