Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets Game Preview: Find a Way

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

There's no question that the Suns have been in a slump lately, losing five of their last seven games, including a loss to the Dallas Mavericks at home in their last showing. Will the Suns be able to turn it around against the Denver Nuggets tonight?

What: Phoenix Suns Vs. Denver Nuggets

Where: U.S. Airways Center - Phoenix, AZ

When: 6:00 p.m. (AZ)

Watch: FSAZ (Locally) , NBA League Pass

Tonight, the Phoenix Suns (22-17) will take on the Denver Nuggets (20-19) in their second game of a five game home stand. The Suns are in the midst of a slump over the past seven games, winning only two of them. The good news for Phoenix is that they are playing at home where their record is 13 - 6. However, the Suns are coming off of a disappointing home loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, and they need to hold serve at home against winnable teams in order to stay in the Western Conference playoff race.

Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets are also coming off a loss on Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Denver Nuggets are currently in the tenth spot in the West, and are trying to overcome their own injury issues as well. While the Suns are missing Eric Bledsoe after having meniscus surgery, the Nuggets have been plagued with losses of Danilo Gallinari (ACL, possibly out for season), Javale McGee (broken tibia, out indefinitely), and now Darrell Arthur (groin, out tonight). Will the Suns be able to find a way to win against a very beatable opponent at home tonight?

Stats:

Suns:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Goran Dragic 36 35.4 6.8 14.0 48.7 1.3 3.7 36.4 4.5 5.7 79.4 0.9 2.4 3.3 6.0 2.8 1.3 0.2 2.3 19.5
Eric Bledsoe 24 33.5 6.3 13.0 48.6 1.2 3.3 35.0 4.2 5.3 78.9 0.4 3.8 4.3 5.8 3.3 1.5 0.3 2.5 18.0
Gerald Green 39 27.9 4.8 11.2 43.2 2.4 6.6 36.6 1.4 1.7 83.6 0.4 2.7 3.1 1.5 1.5 0.8 0.6 2.8 13.5
Markieff Morris 38 24.8 4.6 9.7 47.0 0.3 1.1 31.0 2.6 3.4 77.5 2.0 3.9 6.0 1.7 1.7 0.9 0.5 2.4 12.1
Channing Frye 39 28.1 4.5 10.1 44.4 2.2 5.3 40.4 0.8 1.1 75.0 1.0 4.5 5.5 1.1 1.1 0.8 0.8 3.0 11.9
Marcus Morris 39 22.6 3.6 8.5 42.7 1.4 3.6 38.6 1.6 2.0 78.5 1.2 3.3 4.5 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.3 2.2 10.2
Miles Plumlee 39 28.0 4.3 8.4 51.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.4 51.1 2.6 6.3 8.8 0.6 1.5 0.7 1.7 2.7 9.8
P.J. Tucker 39 30.2 3.2 7.8 41.4 1.0 2.3 42.7 1.8 2.3 78.9 2.1 3.8 5.9 1.8 1.3 1.2 0.3 2.5 9.3
Leandro Barbosa 4 21.3 3.5 9.3 37.8 0.3 1.8 14.3 2.0 2.5 80.0 0.8 1.8 2.5 2.3 0.8 0.8 0.5 1.5 9.3
Ish Smith 27 12.5 1.6 4.3 36.5 0.0 0.6 5.9 0.3 0.4 58.3 0.3 1.1 1.4 2.2 0.8 0.7 0.1 0.8 3.4
Archie Goodwin 35 10.5 1.3 3.3 38.6 0.1 0.8 10.7 0.5 0.7 64.0 0.4 1.3 1.7 0.4 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.7 3.1
Dionte Christmas 21 6.8 0.8 2.0 38.1 0.2 1.0 22.7 0.4 0.5 80.0 0.3 0.9 1.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.6 2.1
Alex Len 11 6.1 0.6 1.7 36.8 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 50.0 1.4 0.8 2.2 0.1 0.4 0.2 0.4 1.6 1.5
Viacheslav Kravtsov 16 3.1 0.4 0.6 60.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.5 50.0 0.4 0.4 0.8 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.4 1.0


Nuggets:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Ty Lawson 37 35.6 5.7 13.5 42.6 1.3 3.5 36.2 5.3 6.6 79.9 0.7 2.8 3.5 8.8 3.1 1.5 0.2 1.6 18.0
Wilson Chandler 31 30.3 4.8 11.7 41.2 1.9 5.5 35.1 1.8 2.5 72.7 1.0 3.8 4.8 1.7 1.0 1.0 0.8 2.8 13.4
J.J. Hickson 39 26.6 4.7 9.3 50.3 0.0 0.1 0.0 2.0 3.5 57.4 2.8 6.3 9.1 1.2 1.6 0.7 0.8 2.5 11.4
Randy Foye 39 25.8 3.6 8.8 40.9 1.9 5.0 37.6 1.6 1.9 83.6 0.3 2.1 2.4 2.3 1.1 0.6 0.4 2.4 10.6
Nate Robinson 39 19.8 3.8 8.8 43.0 1.3 3.5 37.8 1.6 1.9 82.9 0.5 1.5 2.0 2.6 1.3 0.8 0.1 2.1 10.5
Kenneth Faried 37 24.0 4.3 7.8 55.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.7 2.9 57.4 2.9 4.9 7.8 0.9 1.1 0.7 0.9 2.1 10.3
Timofey Mozgov 39 19.9 3.3 5.8 56.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 2.2 2.9 73.7 2.1 3.9 6.0 0.5 1.4 0.3 1.3 2.6 8.7
Jordan Hamilton 32 16.9 2.6 6.6 39.8 1.3 3.7 35.9 0.6 0.8 76.0 0.5 3.0 3.5 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.4 0.8 7.2
JaVale McGee 5 15.8 3.4 7.6 44.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 100.0 2.0 1.4 3.4 0.4 1.6 0.2 1.4 3.2 7.0
Andre Miller 30 19.0 2.2 4.8 45.8 0.3 0.6 50.0 1.2 1.6 74.5 0.5 1.9 2.4 3.3 1.1 0.5 0.2 1.1 5.9
Evan Fournier 33 14.1 2.2 5.2 42.7 0.8 2.1 39.1 0.5 0.9 58.1 0.3 1.6 1.9 0.9 1.0 0.2 0.1 2.1 5.8
Darrell Arthur 34 18.2 2.5 6.0 41.2 0.1 0.2 25.0 0.6 0.7 87.5 0.8 2.7 3.5 1.0 0.9 0.5 0.8 2.8 5.6
Quincy Miller 15 9.7 1.7 3.9 44.8 0.4 1.3 31.6 0.7 0.8 83.3 0.8 1.4 2.2 0.1 0.7 0.1 0.2 0.8 4.5
Anthony Randolph 17 11.7 1.3 3.5 36.7 0.1 0.6 20.0 1.5 1.8 83.9 0.5 2.5 3.1 0.4 1.1 0.6 0.7 1.5 4.2


Probable Starting Line-Ups:

Suns:

G - Goran Dragic

G - Gerald Green

F - P.J. Tucker

F - Channing Frye

C - Miles Plumlee



Nuggets:

G - Ty Lawson

G - Randy Foye

F - Wilson Chandler

F - Kenneth Faried

C - J.J. Hickson

Injuries:

Suns:

Eric Bledsoe - Out (Knee)

Leandro Barbosa - Day-to-Day (Shoulder)

Nuggets:

Darrell Arthur - Out (Hip)

Danilo Gallinari - Out (ACL)

JaVale McGee - Out (Broken Tibia)

Keys to the Game:

  • Box Out! - The Suns have been struggling on the boards all season, and while they've improved lately (now ranked 16th in the league), they are playing a Nuggets team who is ranked 5th in rebounding. If the Suns are going to win tonight, they have to do their part on the glass. They don't necessarily have to win the rebounding battle, but they can't allow Denver to get a lot of second chance points.
  • Energy! - The Suns have not been playing quite like themselves lately, with slow starts to games and appearing to settle for the jump shot too often instead of getting to the rim. The Suns are a good three-point shooting team, so when they are open they should take it, but they also need to open up lanes to the basket to get more points in the paint. Which leads me to my next key...
  • Plumlee! - Miles...Where've you been? Plumlee has been a lot quieter lately, and it's having an impact on the team. Not only offensively, but on the glass as well...he just hasn't been playing like the same player we saw burst onto the scene at the start of the season. The Suns need Plumlee's energy and athleticism in the post. He gives the Suns an added dimension when he is playing well that they just can't replace otherwise.
  • Break the Law! - The most dangerous player in a Nuggets uniform is Ty Lawson, and the Suns will need to keep him in check tonight if they want to win this game. Dragic will need to make him work defensively, and the Suns will need to play smart defense to hold him to a minimum tonight.
  • Step Up! - We all know Dragic will do everythning he can to carry the team tonight, but one thing we've learned since Bledsoe went down with an injury is that he can't do it all alone. The Suns need another player to step up tonight, and help shoulder some of the load. Will Gerald Green find his stroke from beyond the arc? Will Markieff Morris continue his impressive performance at home? Will Leandro Barbosa finally make his home debut and "Meep, Meep" his way to the basket? Who knows, but if the Suns are going to get this win tonight, someone other than just Dragic will need to have a big game.

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