When the news broke that Steve Nash and Grant Hill would sit tonight in an attempt to rest them during the second game of three in three nights, then the Nuggets started the game 10-0 against the Suns, it was easy to see where this contest was headed. It ended up playing out that way, as the Nuggets rolled to a 109-92 win, but the Suns made things interesting for awhile, even tying the game up early in the second half.
Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 20 and 17 points, respectively, and Chris Andersen, best known for his enormous assortment of freakish tattoos, scored 16 in 22 minutes in the absence of Nene Hilario and Timofey Mozgov. The Nuggets exceeded their per game scoring average of 104 points, feasting on Suns turnovers and converting them to easy baskets. We have seen all of this before.
Ronnie Price and Michael Redd got the starts for the Suns with Nash and Hill sitting, and Redd played a great game, hitting 3 3-pointers on his way to 20 points. Price......eh, not so much: 5 turnovers, 4 personal fouls and only 2-11 shooting.
The brightest spot for the Suns was Markieff Morris, who played with confidence and aggressiveness and ended up with a career-high 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Morris also continued his problem with getting into foul trouble, which will limit his playing time if he can't get it rectified. He fouled out after 28 minutes tonight.
Ugly game, no Nash or Hill. At least the Suns got a glimmer of hope from their rookie and their reclamation project. That's something, right?
With each team missing two starters and the Suns on the road after a late game last night, not much can be discovered about either team from this game. The Nuggets have superior depth to the Suns, and are better able to plug in backups and not face a huge drop off in play, but we already knew that.
When healthy and playing at full force, the Nuggets are a team that can do some damage in the playoffs, while the Suns are among the few worst teams in the conference. Nothing we saw tonight changed that one bit.
- The Suns were able to tie the game at 62 on a Michael Redd 3 with 8:47 left in the 3rd after trailing by as many as 16 in the second quarter. Then the Nuggets closed the 3rd with a 24-8 run, led by Afflalo's 13, and the outcome was decided.
- As badly as Price struggled, Sebastian Telfair wasn't much, if at all, better. Telfair had 6 points, 3 assists and only 1 turnover but chucked up 3 bad 3-point attempts, all of which missed, and the offensive flow was terrible when he was in the game.
- With the Suns going deep into their bench, Shannon Brown and Hakim Warrick were able to get minutes after several consecutive "DNP-coach's decision"s. Neither did anything to earn himself more playing time. Brown went 2-11 and Warrick did nothing of note in his 4 minutes except commit 2 turnovers.
- Why can't Robin Lopez shoot any more? He used to have a nice mid-range jumper but he almost never hits it this season. He was 0-7 tonight, but was the only Suns players with a positive +/-. Uh, congrats?
- Let's be honest here: kind of a throw-away game tonight. I shudder to think what a Nuggets team with a healthy Nene, Gallinari and Mozgov would have done to the Suns tonight, but by resting Nash and HIll, the Suns came about as close as it gets to writing off the game as a loss. On to the next one!