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Game Preview: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets on New Years Day

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2021 starts off with a bang as the Suns take on the Nuggets!

DENVER NUGGETS VS PHOENIX SUNS, NBA REGULAR SEASON Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Denver (Ball Arena)

Watch: Fox Sports Arizona

Listen: 98.7 FM


After two days of rest, the Denver Nuggets (1-3) look to find their footing and get back to business against the Suns (4-1). A team that took on the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets look to be a tough matchup for the Suns in the first game of the new year!

The Suns are now on a three game win streak, can they continue to impress their fans as well as the league?

Starting Lineups

Injury Report

Same old song and dance with Jalen Smith and Abdel Nader missing in action as the Nuggets will be at full strength.

Nuggets Update

If the playoffs started today, the Nuggets would be sitting on the outside looking in. Luckily It is very early in the season but the slow start was not predicted by many before the season started.

In only is 6th season in the league, Nikola Jokic is averaging a career high in assists (13.5) and points (24.5). My prediction to win MVP this year sounds promising but for the team needs to pick up the pace in the win column if he has a true shot. After the amazing performance by Jamal Murray in the bubble playoffs, he is the missing piece in getting the things right in Denver.

4th in the league in assists with 27.8, with the help of Jokic, sharing the ball is not an issue and eventually dizzying the defense with ball movement will lead to team success.

It is only a matter of time until the Nuggets get things right, but hopefully they can hold off another game to get on track.

7th in the league in scoring at 117.3 points per game, offense is not the issue for Denver. The effort on defense what holds up the argument for being one of the top teams in the west.

Micheal Porter Jr. has started all four of the first games for the Nuggets averaging 19.5 points per game. Deciding to become a star in the bubble, Porter is trying to become the 3rd piece for the Nuggets.

Suns Update

Off to a sizzling start, the only negative for the Suns is the absence of Jalen Smith on the court. The rest of the roster is contributing in the ways they should. Handling their roles and playing defense to Paul’s standard.

Even if the shots aren’t falling, the Suns pick up the effort on the defense end to keep games close. Defense is the difference this year and will need to continue to be the principle of focus.

The Western Conference might end up being even more difficult this year with the Golden State Warriors the only dud.

The defense leading to great offense and the that offense is made up of great looks from behind the arc for the Suns.

The pick-and-roll is a process between Ayton and Paul, but the rest of the Suns offense is beginning the heat up.

Key to the Suns win

The Suns defense is irritating and can constipate an offense. The key to winning is to lock up the two main stars for the Nuggets: Jokic and Murray. Depends on the contributions of the Nuggets supporting cast versus the Suns supporting cast.

Prediction

The Suns win a close one 103-98. Book with big free-throws to close the game out.