Nuggets at Suns: Wrapping up the preseason in Phoenix

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

I think I can speak for everyone in Stiffs Nation when I say, THANK GOODNESS THE PRESEASON IS OVER TONIGHT FOR THE NUGGETS! George Karl will be resting some of his players and we will get our first look at North Carolina rookie point guard Kendall Marshall.

2012/2013 NBA Preseason
Phoenix Suns (1969 - 1992)
vs
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3-3

3-3
October 26th, 2012, 8:30 PM (MT)
US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
TV ESPN 2 / 950 AM/104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Goran Dragic PG Ty Lawson
Jared Dudley SG Corey Brewer (?)
Michael Beasley SF Jordan Hamilton (?)
Luis Scola PF Kenneth Faried
Marcin Gortat C JaVale McGee (?)
Notes
Bright Side of the Sun Blogs You're here!
Channing Frye (enlarged heart, out for season) Injuries Julyan Stone
We got TV AGAIN! Stat We got TV AGAIN!

A little known fact among NBA fans, but not so much around Stiffs Nation ... Ty Lawson and Goran Dragic have some competitive fire for each other. I'm not sure how much Lawson we'll see tonight, as George Karl has indicated he'll be resting some folks this evening, but keep on eye on Lawson and Dragic during this contest and during the regular season.

There were a few Stiffs that wanted to see former North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall (13th overall pick) fall to the Nuggets in this year's NBA draft. We should see the rookie tonight as Suns coach Alvin Gentry had the following to say:

Marshall played 13 minutes in Phoenix's last game against the Warriors and put up 8 points on 3-4 shooting to go along with 2 assists.

The Nuggets were less than impressive last night at the Pepsi Center, losing to the Clippers 106-94. Karl discussed his team's up-and-down performance last night after the game and had the following to say.

On Iguodala:

Karl: I think he has been deferring and not assertive enough. We haven't given him the right feel for offensive touches. The only thing I'm disappointed in is that I don't think he's getting to the free throw line like I thought he would. I need him to go get more contact and not be afraid to force the contact. But I think the league right now is changing, they are not giving the cheap foul when the offensive player is creating all the contact. I think (Danilo Gallinari) has got to understand that, Ty (Lawson), and how we observe what a good shot is when we penetrate. Because we penetrate to the paint 50, 60, 70 times a game and we've got to be better at making what's a good shot and what isn't a good shot.

Karl on Iguodala's shooting: You can see his jumper is not there yet and that happens with a lot of players. It takes sometimes a week or two into the season before you get your rhythm. He's close.

Nate's take: I think Iguodala is working to get chemistry with his teammates. He's making some extra passes that he probably shouldn't be making, but I'm betting the veteran is just trying to get through this preseason.

Karl on resting players tonight:

Karl: I don't think Gallo is going to play and I don't think Andre Iguodala is going to play. I told Andre he could have a game off.

Nate's take: I really really really want to see more Jordan Hamilton and I'm interested to see how much Karl plays Evan Fournier ... at point guard. With just two healthy point guards on the roster heading into the regular season, will Karl trust Fournier in a pinch?

Karl on the minutes battle between Fournier and Hamilton:

Karl: The basketball IQ of the (Clippers) game was on their side, so I played the smarter player (Evan Fournier) rather than the shooter probably in Jordan (Hamilton). They (Fournier and Hamilton) right now to me are very even. And who finds it, is the competition right now.

Nate's take: Karl really likes Fournier. He says he has high basketball IQ and seems to trust the 19 year-old a little bit more than Hamilton. Jordan could provide the Nuggets with the outside shooting the team desperately needs, but will he be able to get on the floor? It's not looking good if Corey Brewer and Wilson Chandler are ahead of him and Fournier is even with him. With all the work Hamilton put in this summer, I am still hopeful that he'll take advantage of the time he is given and force Karl to play him. We shall see.

Karl on his big men vs. the Clippers:

Karl: The whole game plan was to keep the lob out of the game and they had, I think, eight dunks. We were a step slow. Tonight's game, I think the match-up on (Blake) Griffin was a little too much for Kenneth (Faried). We didn't really have another place to go there. That was the dominant factor in the game in the first half. If you had to tell me who is the best defensive big man that I have, Wilson (Chandler) conceptually knows how to defend pick-and-rolls better than all of our big guys. Kosta (Koufos) is probably our next guy. Tonight we had trouble finding guys who were understanding of their jobs. They had more offensive rebounds than we had defensive rebounds at half. They had dunks when one of our priorities was no dunks. So, why should you play big guys when they are not doing their jobs?

Nate's take: I still worry about Karl playing too much small ball, but he has to try out different combinations to see what works. Iguodala covered Griffin pretty well a couple times last night and that should give Faried hope. Faried is not as big as Blake, neither is Iguodala, but he needs to keep working on his one-on-one defense. With so much pick-and-roll in the NBA today, the Nuggets had better start improving in that area of the game or the offense will be under that much more pressure to produce night-in and night-out. I'd much rather see the defense get right than watch a team try to outscore everyone. And Karl, for sure, wants to see the defense improve. You could also see Iguodala communicating with his teammates last night on the defensive end, it will take some time, but we should see some improvement.

Karl on his studs:

The rhythm of the game, how we rotated , it will get better. And our studs got to play better too. Who had a good game for us tonight? You got to have Ty, Gallo, Andre or someone has got to jump up there and say, "He had a good game." But you know it is exhibition season and I think we are a little too cool and soft and maybe this will toughen us up.

Nate's take: Like Karl, I agree that in order to notch wins it has to be Ty, Gallo, and Iguodala taking turns dominating games. Hopefully all three will have consistent and big seasons.

Karl on the preseason:

Karl: You don't want to be the best team out of training camp, you just want to be able to win games.

Nate's take: Taking the Lakers playoff series and the moves made on paper, I have high expectations for the Nuggets. I may be a bit more tempered at the moment ... I think we'll see a much more focused team come Halloween however.

Perhaps all the road games will help the Nuggets grow even closer too ... my glass is half full!

Views you can use:

Here is last night's box score from the 3:50 mark of the first quarter to the 5:40 mark of the second quarter aka Andre Miller's time on the floor in the first half:

First_qtr_medium

The Nuggets were outscored 36-16 during that period and Miller turned in a -20 in 10 minutes of action, while Jamal Crawford turned in a +20 in his 10 minutes of action. It was a very ugly stretch for the Nuggets and you could say that stretch lost them the game.

Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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