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

Time: 7 p.m. MST


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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.


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

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