What: Phoenix Suns (3-8) @ Denver Nuggets (3-7)
When: 7 PM AZ Time
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
TV: Fox Sports AZ
Radio: AZ Sports 98.7FM and KSUN 1400AM (Spanish)
The Suns are back in action after two days of rest, this time taking on a relatively equal Western Conference foe in the Denver Nuggets. Tonight’s game against the Nuggets will be game one of a seven-game stretch against below .500 opponents. That’s a perfect opportunity to add a few wins to their currently 3-and-8 record.
The biggest story for Phoenix is that Tyson Chandler practiced with the team yesterday and will likely suit up tonight. Chandler has seen somewhat of a resurgence this season in his starting role, shooting 68 percent from the field and tallying a phenomenal 16.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. The blocks haven’t come for Tyson through 7 games, but the rim protection is still there. He’s allowing opponents to shoot 46.3 percent at the rim, placing him ahead of players such as Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, and Andrew Bogut.
It will be interesting to see what Chandler’s return to the lineup means for Dragan Bender. Bender has appeared in all four of the Suns’ last games, averaging 13.3 minutes per game in those contests. But despite playing relatively well for a 19-year-old, a return of Chandler to the rotation could also result in more DNP-CDs for Dragan.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets enter the game struggling after what was a promising start for a young team. Denver has dropped its last four, having most recently won back on November 6th against Boston.
The Nuggets have a lot of promising youth, but that promise hasn’t translated into success thus far. 20-year-old guard Emmanuel Mudiay is posting Knight-esque performances, shooting 34 percent on the season and averaging a horrendous 4.6 turnovers per game.
Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic is experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump and just recently lost his starting spot to Kenneth Faried. Jokic’s shooting efficiency has plummeted from a True Shooting percent of 58.2 percent last season to 51.2 percent this year. His PER also dropped from 21.5 to just 12.9.
Winning in Denver is always a challenge given the altitude, and this looks to be a fast, sloppy game. With Denver coming into the game ranking 6th in the league in pace, and with Phoenix ranking 1st, expect a lot of runs, a lot of turnovers, and a lot of up-and-down action.
Denver: Gary Harris (Out), Will Barton (Questionable), Darrell Arthur (Questionable)