Suns vs. Nuggets preview: Ty Lawson, teammates need one more win to secure the three seed

JaVale McGee knows all about the beefy swat. - Christian Petersen

The Nuggets will play their last regular season game at the Pepsi Center tonight and they need the win.

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2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 82

Phoenix Suns (2001 - Pres)

vs

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25-56 (8-32 on the road)
1-1
56-25 (37-3 at home)
April 17th, 2013 - 6:00 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Goran Dragic PG Ty Lawson
P.J. Tucker SG Evan Fournier
Wes Johnson SF Andre Iguodala
Markieff Morris PF Wilson Chandler
Luis Scola C Kosta Koufos
Notes
Bright Side of the Sun Blogs Denver Stiffs
Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat are both out Injuries Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Julyan Stone are all out
Markieff Morris had 6 blocks in the Suns win over the Rockets on April 15th Stat Fournier is averaging 12.6 ppg in his last 8 games and 1.37 steals

Remember ... 6:00 p.m. MT start this evening.

We made it. Give yourselves a pat on the back; it's Game 82 and we're still standing. I never imagined I'd be watching as much basketball as I have for the past four years. I watched even more NBA this year than at any previous time in my blogger/life history. And I know there are many of you out in Nuggets Nation that can say the same.

I almost feel like I should put my "so-called" talents to some sort of use. Maybe get out there and coach a kids hoops team or something. But I'd hate to see that team go winless, have some lunatic parent create FireNateTimmons.com to rally the other parents to revolt and have me fired. I couldn't take that. If I were to coach, I'd be sure to have a shtick on the sidelines ... like eating a towel a la Jerry Tarkanian ... or temper tantrums that could rival Bobby Knight ... or chewing cough drops like George Karl used to do. Something.

With tonight's game being the end of the regular season, let's turn to some movie quotes at the end of some films to wrap up the season and tonight's game against the pesky Phoenix Suns.

"I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye."
"Dr. Lecter, Dr. Lecter, Dr. Lecter?" -Silence of the Lambs, 1991

With the Suns in town for the first time this season, the Nuggets need to have their old friends for dinner. Just 1-1 against Phoenix this season, Denver needs to stay focused as the Suns have proven dangerous. Already defeating Denver once this season, the Suns defeated the Rockets 119-112 just two days ago (April 15th). It'd be great to see Denver give the Suns the old Pepsi Center treatment tonight. (When the Cans a-rockin' ... don't come a-knockin'!)

"You know something, Tracy, I kind of like that dame." -Dick Tracy, 1991

If we could flip this quote to, "You know something, Stiffs Nation, I kind of like that Fournier." we'd be in business. This 20 year-old kid might be up for rookie of the year if he were getting 30-minutes a night for say, the Bobcats. But saying that is a bit of a disservice to the coaching staff and training staff of the Nuggets. But Fournier has been nothing short of special.

Consider that he is averaging 1.37 steals in the eight recent stretch of games where he averages roughly 22 minutes per game - that'd rank him 29th in the NBA in steals, one spot ahead of Kobe Bryant (1.36) and one spot behind Kevin Durant (1.43). Throw in that he's averaging 12.6 points per game 2.9 assists in his last eight games and you have one hell of a rookie on your hands.

"Well, uh, hope you folks enjoyed yourselves. Catch ya further on down the trail. Say, friend - you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?" -The Big Lebowski, 1998

I'm looking at different outlets and seeing all the players getting rest on the last game or two of the season. As much as we'd all like to relax and watch the Nuggets play a meaningless game - that ain't gonna happen. They need a win tonight to claim the three-seed and a likely match-up with the Golden State Warriors in round one, but the Suns stand in the way. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Nuggets blowout win.

"And in the dream I knew that he was goin' on ahead and he was fixin' to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold. And I knew that whenever I got there, he'd be there. And then I woke up." -No Country For Old Men, 2007

When the playoffs start on Saturday, April 20th, here's hoping that Kenneth Faried will be there when we get there. The Nuggets fall asleep on the boards a bit because they are so spoiled by Faried's hunger to grab everything in sight. It was awesome to see JaVale McGee gobble up 17 rebounds against the Bucks and if Denver can get those types of performances out of McGee in the post-season ... look out! McGee seems a bit like a gamer to me, a big game hunter ... we'll see.

"...This is me taking back control of my life." (turning toward the camera) "What the f--k have you done lately?" -Wanted, 2008

It has been, next man up for the Nuggets the past few weeks. Suddenly, Fournier, Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, and Anthony Randolph have been asked to do more and they have been delivering. Randolph is especially intriguing as he could be ever-important tonight and if Faried isn't able to log heavy minutes right away against David Lee or whomever the Nuggets face.

I've seen Randolph changing his game from who he was at the beginning of the season (and earlier in his career) to who he is now. He doesn't try to go it alone on offense and he's doing what the coaches ask of him: play defense, set screens, hit the glass, and get scrappy points. Randolph has that "something extra" in his game and I believe he was trying to do too much early in his career. It looks like the game is slowing down for him a bit lately and he's looking a lot more in control on the court ... Denver needs that.

"There is a storm on the horizon. A time of hardship and pain. This battle has been won, but the war against the machines rages on. Skynet's global network remains strong. But we will not quit, until all of it is destroyed. This is John Connor. There is no fate, but what we make." -Terminator Salvation, 2009

Change that "John Connor" to "Ty Lawson". You can't tell me that Lawson is not a top-10 point guard in the NBA, you just can't. The guy is a killer and the Nuggets MVP. He has been back for three games and has played 19, 31, and 38 minutes and scored 13 points, 12 points, and 26 points (including a big time game-winner vs. the Bucks).

I believe the Nuggets will go as far as Lawson can take them. He has 17 assists in his last two games and just because he's the MVP, that doesn't mean he should be scoring 30 points a night and taking all the big shots. This is still a team and Lawson is the engine that runs the Ferrari or Maserati or whatever car floats your boat.

I love watching Lawson run this team and love how his game is developing. Special player.

"Hey, Doc! Where ya going now? Back to the future?"
"Nope. Already been there." -Back to the Future III, 1990

I can't wait to see where this Nuggets team goes ...

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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