Preview: Phoenix Suns (14-10) at Denver Nuggets (14-10)


Time: 7 p.m. MST

TV: FSA

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Suns

Nuggets

Nuggets

This is a different Denver Nuggets team than the Phoenix Suns played back in the first week of November. The Nuggets dropped four of their first five games of the season, including a 114-103 defeat to the Suns in Phoenix. Since that loss, Denver has rebounded to go 13-6 and recently won seven in a row. The team has faced an adjustment period under first-year coach David Shaw and has dealt with injuries, most notably to JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari. McGee has not played since the game against the Suns, and Gallinari has been out all season recovering from a torn ACL.

The Suns lost to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night that snapped a five-game win streak. The Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic backcourt has been spectacular this season, but struggled against the Spurs in their first bad game of the year together. It will be interesting to see how they both respond against Denver. Bledsoe shot 6-11 with 17 points and nine assists in the Suns first game against Denver earlier, but Dragic did not play in the Suns’ win.

The road trip to Denver will be a short one — the Suns return to home for a Saturday night tilt against the Dallas Mavericks as part of playing eight of 11 games at home.

Do the Suns contain Ty Lawson?

Lawson comes into the contest leading the Nuggets in scoring with 18 points per game. He already put up 29 points against the Suns back in November on 10-for-21 shooting and gave the Suns fits all night. Bledsoe has periods on defense where he tends to go to sleep, and if he is guarding Lawson, he cannot afford to lose focus.

Lawson, however, is questionable for tonight’s game and as of Thursday night was dealing with a stomach flu, according to the Denver Post.

Can Gerald Green break out of his shooting slump?

Green is shooting under 30 percent in the month of December and is struggling to find consistency in his shot. The shot selection of Green is questionable to begin with and when he is not making his shots, it can be detrimental to the team, leading to long rebounds and essentially acting as turnovers. When a  high confidence player like Green is struggling, he needs to hit the first couple shots of a game to get himself going, so we will probably know early on if Green can give the Suns a boost off the bench.

Who wins the rebounding battle?

The Nuggets are third in the NBA in total rebounds per game and can be dominant on the boards. J.J. Hickson and Kenneth Faried  are both averaging over eight rebounds a game and both can be nightmares, especially at home. You know Miles Plumlee will battle tough down low, but the key will be if the Morris brothers can hold their own and keep those two off the offensive glass. If the Nuggets post a big number in offensive rebounds the Suns will have a tough time pulling out a win in Denver.

 

Tags: Denver Nuggets Eric Bledsoe Gerald Green Goran Dragic JJ Hickson Kenneth Faried Miles Plumlee NBA Phoenix Suns Ty Lawson

  • EBJM

    Denver is a good example of a team owner, Josh Kroenke making player decisions instead of his staff. He wanted JaVale McGee and wanted him to start. The Nuggets turn-around coincides with his injury and subsequent replacement at center with J.J. Hickson and moving Kenneth Faried into Hickson’s PF slot.

    Hey John, I read your comment on Bleacher Report about Kendall Marshall, good stuff. The Laker fans are gulping down the Marshall Kool-Aid by the gallons.

    I do expect Marshall to have a similar “Linsanity” moment under D’Antoni though. It is kind of hard to hate the kid, it isn’t his fault Blanks blew the Suns #13th pick on him.

    Reading the Laker comments and they really want Kupchak to cut Nash loose. Apparently Nash still bleeds Orange and Purple as his last assist to Phoenix is to keep collecting that Laker paycheck!

    Thanks Steve, you will be a Sun Forever!

  • phxfaninla

    What do you guys think of marshall signing with the lakers?

  • Al

    I’d like to think that’s not Steve Nash with the Lakers, but a Derek Fisher clone in a Steve Nash skin suit.

  • RudeCerveza

    This one is kinda hard to predict. I’m not a gambling man luckily, cuz I would be at a loss who to put my money on. Lawson is usually Goran’s bitch, but Goran’s not going to guard him. I think that, this game will be all about Markieff again. I missed too many games this season and I’m not planning on missing this one. Don’t disappoint me guys.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Rude….In case ya change your mind, the Nuggets are favored by 4….I am a gambling man, but I wouldn’t touch that one.

    Marshall was averaging 19 pts & 9.6 assists a game in the D-League.

    Pierre Jackson, the PG from Baylor is tearing up the D-League averaging 31 ppg & almost 3 steals a game.

    Forever….not sure how much you’re watching UCLA over in SoCal but Zack Lavine, the Bruins back-up guard is now their highest rated pro prospect….incredible.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    btw….Richard Dumas was arrested yesterday out in Litchfield Park & charged with 8 counts of organized retail theft.
    About $800 worth of stuff was stolen from the Luke Air Base exchange where, at the time, Dumas was working for a janitorial service.

  • Foreveris2long

    Hawki, yeah I have been following UCLA. The kid can play but I am not convinced yet he is ready for the NBA. He plays a lot against the opponent’s backup so the jury is still out in my mind. He is very good but I am going to wait until the end of January where they have played some conference games.

    Dumas stealing as a janitor? What was that movie with Robert DeNiro and I think Edward Norton where Norton was disguised as a janitor when they stole the art work? Anyway great movie. Maybe Dumas was auditioning for the sequel. This is sad but funny.