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?
Probable Starting Line-Ups:
G - Goran Dragic
G - Gerald Green
F - P.J. Tucker
F - Channing Frye
C - Miles Plumlee
G - Ty Lawson
G - Randy Foye
F - Wilson Chandler
F - Kenneth Faried
C - J.J. Hickson
Eric Bledsoe - Out (Knee)
Leandro Barbosa - Day-to-Day (Shoulder)
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.