This is going to be an interesting game. Both teams are struggling with confidence issues, trade talk/rumors... while losing to bottom feeders. Even the Nuggets(20-16) have lost to the Clippers and Kings only they got blown out. See were not the only ones that can't beat crappy teams! That makes you feel better, right?
More after the jump.
This is a game I feel the Suns can steal if they can just play with a little bit more confidence. In fact, maybe that's what it will come down to. I mean the Nuggets have really been struggling recently due to all the Carmelo drama and trade talk. We saw this coming though. For a while they have always been a highly emotional team that tend to give up when things go bad for them. Just ask Sir Charles-
- C. Billups vs S. Nash - He's lost a few steps, but Chauncey can still ball, yet got to go with Nash on this one.
- A. Afflalo vs V. Carter - Vince wins this one. However, Afflalo averages 12.1ppg and has got some good 3-pt range. Don't leave him open Carter.
- N. Hilario vs R. Lopez - Nene right now is a much better player. Lopez is coming off of a 15/6/3 game though. Very curious to see how this one goes.
- C. Anthony vs J. Dudley - No Grant Hill hurts yet Dudley is the next best defender we have. I'm assuming he'll be starting in Grant's place. Yet even Dudz athletic hands is not enough to stop Melo.
- S. Williams vs C. Frye - Got to give this one to Frye. Don't know much about Shelden, but he averages 6 and 5 in 18mpg. He seems like another Lou Amundson.
Harrington and Smith will come off the bench for Denver. We all know what those guys can do and I'm sure you all remember Gary Forbes and his 15 points on 5-8 shooting last outing? With no Hill I'm interested to see who will backup Dudley? I really want to see more Chilldress, but than again I feel we need that extra 3-pt threat in Pietrus instead. I expect to see more Warrick tonight-
"I went back and looked at all the games where we’ve been successful and played pretty good, and he’s (Hakim Warrick) had pretty good numbers, so we’ve got to get him back in the rotation. As I said, (we need to) play some consistent minutes with people—not have it go up and down and fluctuate.- Gentry
Keys to the Game
Play defense, score the ball and win. Simple huh? Well, for the Suns that's asking a lot. Usually they either do one or the other, but rarely we see them do both at the same time. Also, don't let JR Smith get hot. This is a guy that can suck one night and play like a superstar the other. In the last outing he scored 30 points in a 138-133 Denver win. Just guard him and don't give him easy baskets early on, ok. They can't let unknowns like Gary Forbes and Sheldon Williams hurt them either.
I expect this game to go down to the wire. Both teams are evenly matched and overall this should be an exciting one for all ya folks. It's kind of interesting that the Suns get to play Denver and the Nets in b2b's because as you know both teams are coming close to a deal that would send Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey. You'd expect those teams to not be that focused. I'd say this is a perfect opportunity for the them to get a couple wins, gain some momentum and get back on track. The Suns just need to concentrate and have fun.
I'll be honest, I haven't looked at the standings in a long time(I'm sure you know why), but I just did and realized that Phoenix isn't far from catching New Orleans(22-16) for that 6th seed. As bad as they've played they're still very much alive in the playoff race, so there's no reason to give up and call it a season right now.
However, if we continue to lose it may be time for the FO to really think about committing to a full rebuild meaning Nash and Hill get traded. Right now, I'm not quite ready to "Pull the Plug" on this Nash era. I say just give it a couple more weeks and see what happens. Maybe the Suns can steal some games and gain some confidence to get themselves in a good position for the playoffs? If not I wouldn't be against a full rebuild.
Here's some interesting Links