Suns vs Nuggets Preview: Nugs look to squelch Eric Bledsoe, Suns

Ty Lawson drives against Channing Frye in a November contest - Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Similar records, similar arcs, similar surprises... Can the Nuggets overcome a team whose sole claim to the seed ahead of them is a November win?

Game 25: 2013-14 NBA Season
Phoenix Suns (2014 - Pres)
@

14-10 (6-6 road)
Series 1-0
14-10 (7-4 home)
December 20th, 2013
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Eric Bledsoe PG Ty Lawson
Goran Dragic SG Randy Foye
P.J. Tucker SF Wilson Chandler
Channing Frye PF Kenneth Faried
Miles Plumlee C J.J. Hickson
Notes
Bright Side of the Sun Blogs You're here!
None Injuries Danilo Gallinari (knee) is out, JaVale McGee(leg fracture) is out
The Suns have won five of their last six games, narrowly missing six in a row against San Antonio.
The Nuggets have won 9 of their last 11 home games against the Thunder.

With identical records (14-10), and recently winning ways, something has to give for your Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns tonight as they square off at the Pepsi Center on the first night of back-to-backs for both teams. To make it even more interesting, although the Nuggets typically play well at the Pepsi Center, they have at least one important role player out in Jordan Hamilton, serving a suspension for an "altercation" with the Thunder’s Steven Adams. I add the quotation marks as I’ve watched the highlights of the incident several times now, and if Jordan meant to hit Adams, he learned his punching skills from Carmelo Anthony (see Knicks/Nuggets 12/06/06).

Adding insult to injury, All-Star candidate Ty Lawson and veteran influence Randy Foye are both listed as day-to-day, with Lawson out of practice yesterday with flu-like symptoms (so you wonder how much gas will be in his tank, even if he does play). Foye’s listing appears to be attached to his turned ankle against the Pelicans, but he gutted that out vs. Oklahoma City, and I’m hard pressed to see him not playing in this game.

All of that said, the Nuggets are winners of 10 of their last 14 games, and have the personnel to match up well against this Suns squad. Denver will have to avoid their recent habit of starting games slowly, as Phoenix leads the league this season in fast break points at nearly 20 a game, and will look to press the Nuggets early on. The Suns also like to shoot from beyond the arc, shooting nearly 38 percent for the season, and have been even hotter over their past few games. The Nuggets (I can’t believe I’m writing this) counteract that with the NBA’S BEST THREE POINT DEFENSE, holding opponents to just over 32 percent beyond the arc for the season, and a ridiculous 26.2 average over the last 5 games. I’m writing that again, as I fear I’m in opposite world all of a sudden. Denver has the leagues’ stoutest 3-point D. George Karl is rolling over in his… oh, that’s just ESPN.

A little History...

The Nuggets look to avenge a loss to the Suns on November 8th, after having controlled the recent series between the two, winning eight or the previous 10. The Suns control the lifetime series handily, with a 22-game gap (88-66) between the two. I think most people had this marked as a "W" on the Nuggets calendar early in the season, but the Suns have proven to be a better squad than early season expectations, and both teams will want momentum heading into their games tomorrow night.

The gist of it all is that it’s anybody’s game tonight, and those tend to be fun games to watch if both teams play hard. What do you expect to see, Nuggets Nation?

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