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There's talk on the internets about how the Suns played themselves out of tonights re-match with the Nuggets:

Mike D'Antoni: He managed to coach his team back from a 22-point deficit to a 15-point win over a conference rival and thus pulled his team into a tie for the division lead and within one game of the conference lead.

Here's the "but." D'Antoni rode his starters hard and put them away wet to get 'er done, and they play again in Denver tonight. Technically, he used eight men against the Nuggets, but it was effectively seven men since D.J. Strawberry logged only 36 seconds of PT. I'm not saying they can't win, but I wouldn't want to drag a tired Shaq and company into Denver's thin air on the second night of back-to-backs when most of the main guys are sure to be exhausted.

Good point right? I certainly clamored for Skinner to come in during that lame-ass first half.

But let's just check the numbers:

Suns' Starters

Minutes Played Age
Steve Nash 38 34
Shaq 35 36
Amare 42 25
Raja Bell 44 31
Leandro Barbosa 31 25
Total 190 151

Nuggets' Starters

Minutes Played Age
Carmelo 34 23
AI 43 32
K-Mart 33 30
Camby 31 34
Anthony Carter 31 32
Total 172 151

The combined age of both teams' starters are exactly the same. The Suns' starters logged a total of 18 more minutes or 3.6 minutes each.

But when you compare Amare at 25 years old and AI 32 which do you think is able to bounce back faster and which means more to their team?

I would take the Sun's chances with a slightly tired Amare (which I am betting we won't see) to the Nuggets with a worn down AI which we did see in the fourth quarter.

I am not saying the Suns are a lock to win, but I don't think playing 7 guys would be the reason they don't.

The Suns have a much more balanced attack and I would expect LB and Giricek to step up their scoring tonight and hopefully JR Smith is like Diaw and can't put two solid games together in a row.