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Game Preview: Shorthanded Suns (21-21) look for Christmas revenge against the surging Nuggets (27-13)

The Suns got an unexpected win last night, and they’ll look to carry that momentum over into this one.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

What: Phoenix Suns (21-21) @ Denver Nuggets (27-13)

When: 8:00 p.m. AZ Time

Where: Ball Arena — Denver, Colorado

Watch: ESPN, Bally Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM

Betting Line: Denver 13.0 point favorites

The Phoenix Suns got an unexpected victory in the Bay Area last night while missing four of their five starters along with several key bench pieces.

Steph made his return and the Warriors were full strength on a nationally televised game, but it was the Suns who brought the heat from the start.

Damion Lee’s return to the Bay resulted in two wins for him: one in securing his ring, and two in securing the win against his former team.

The Nuggets will be a tough test for a shorthanded squad that will be making a trip from the Bay to Denver for the second of a back-to-back. Bring out the oxygen tanks.

The last time these two teams faced, it turned out to be quite the epic overtime Christmas Day battle that came down to the wire despite the Suns being down Devin Booker and Cam Johnson.

Projected Starters


  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Dario Saric
  • Torrey Craig
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Duane Washington Jr.


  • Nikola Jokic
  • Aaron Gordon
  • Michael Porter Jr.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Jamal Murray


*still awaiting updates


  • Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Landry Shamet (right hip soreness) is QUESTIONABLE
  • Chris Paul (hip soreness) is OUT
  • Devin Booker (groin soreness) is OUT
  • Cameron Payne (foot) is OUT
  • Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
  • Jae Crowder (refusing to play basketball) is NOT WITH TEAM


  • Bones Hyland (thigh contusion) is PROBABLE
  • Bruce Brown (thumb) is PROBABLE
  • Zeke Nnaji (knee) is PROBABLE

It looks like Denver will be at full strength.

Nuggets Report

The Denver Nuggets have been a steady force throughout the season, in large part due to their two-time MVP Nikola Jokic continuing to play at an MVP level.

Denver is an elite home team per usual, with their current home record sitting at a league-best 17-3.

Jamal Murray, known Suns killer, has started to look like his former self more and more, dropping 34 points in their last game against the Lakers.

Offensively, Denver is an elite team that can hurt you in a variety of ways, especially when Jokic is on the court. Defensively, however, they have work to do. Phoenix was able to get just about any look they wanted to in that Christmas Day game and the Nuggets’ personnel on that end is uninspiring.

Phoenix may struggle to score just due to who is available and the lack of options, but at full strength, this is a team that you can expose on that side of the floor.

Suns Report

It’ll be a lot more difficult to catch Denver by surprise after taking down the Warriors last night. Head coach Mike Malone will be sure to instill the message to his players that they cannot take this team lightly despite the injuries.

Mikal Bridges compiled 26 points (10-18 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-7 FT), nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and one steal over 41 minutes in the win last night, playing one of his best games of the season on both ends.

They’re going to need a repeat performance of that (which is a lot to ask) if they want a chance at another upset.

It’s unfamiliar territory for this team to be the “scrappy underdogs”, but due to the long list of injuries, it’s the role they are playing for now. Let’s hope they have some legs left in them for this one.


Denver at home while the Suns are shorthanded and in the SEGABA? I just don’t see it. As much as I’d like to keep the good vibes rolling, this is a Nuggets win. 119-111.

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