Dec 13, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe controls the ball in the second half against the Sacramento Kings at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Kings 116-107. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Suns at Nuggets: Keys to the Game


 

As these teams meet less than a week until Christmas, they both hold a 14-10 record and would both be in the playoffs if they started today. Phoenix is “ahead” in the standings only because they have a better division and conference record.

Key matchup(s):

Once again the dynamic backcourt of Dragic and Bledsoe face off against other good guards, this time in Ty Lawson and (coming off the bench) Nate Robinson. Phoenix won versus Golden State’s “Splash Brothers” and now have to face what we could call the “small brothers” or the “speed brothers”. Phoenix unusually has the height advantage in the backcourt matchup as Lawson and Robinson are both shorter than six foot, while Dragic and Bledsoe are taller than that mark. Watch for “DragonBlade” to bounce back after a sub-par game against San Antonio.

What the Suns offense should focus on:

Get aggressive again on offense. It was lacking somewhat against the Spurs and the Suns needs a shot of tenacity again after losing to their nemesis. They have the effort, just need to drive strong to the hoop. Out-run the Nuggets. Denver usually has a fast team with an up-and-down pace and tempo to capitalize on the high altitude up in the mountains, but Phoenix has to beat them at their own game. Push the ball. Run. Get up the court.

What the Suns defense needs to watch out for:

Points in the paint and easy baskets. With the likes of Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson, the Suns need to make sure they body up on their man and that outback are few and far between.

Key stat:

The Nuggets are second in rebounds per game. The Suns need to get physical, get the P.J. Tucker mentality. Go for the ball.

Injury update:

Lawson, Denver’s best player is recovering from the flu, will play, but may not be as effective as usual. The Suns need to take advantage of that.

We will be forced to miss the comical play of Javale McGee, as he has been out due to injury.

Denver is also missing Danilo Gallinari, who hasn’t played all year.

Prediction:

Suns get back on the winning track as they defeat the Nuggets 105-99.  

Tags: Basketball Eric Bledsoe Featured Goran Dragic Nate Robinson NBA Phoenix Suns Popular Preview Ty Lawson