Get used to it Nugget fans, March has one tough game after another. Coming off a humiliating loss in Houston the Nuggets now have home games against Phoenix and San Antonio before going on the road to Utah and San Antonio.
Phoenix played last night in Portland and it is obvious they are not anywhere near the same team with Shaq plugging up the middle and only having two three point threats on the floor most of the time. Portland came back from being down more than 20 points, but giving up a big lead is not a rarity for Phoenix. The rarity was Phoenix was never able to reestablish dominance by the end of the game as they squeaked out a 97-92 win.
The Nuggets must take advantage of Phoenix’s struggles. To my recollection, the Nuggets seem to bounce back pretty well playing at home after an embarrassing loss, but that is not always the case. For every 123-107 drubbing of the Clippers in the first home game following a bad road loss there is a 112-110 loss to the Pacers.
Shaq has not been much of an offensive force in Phoenix, but the Nuggets do not have a Joel Przybilla sized center to hold him off. Camby cannot guard Shaq, but guarding Amare will probably get him into foul trouble.
Amare Stoudemire has been playing great basketball for three months now and he tends to do well against Denver. He has developed a great inside-outside game and is showing no ill effects from his microfracture surgery.
Melo should enjoy not being guarded by Shawn Marion and AI should have plenty of room to operate as well. Phoenix’s defense has been abysmal since the Shaq trade giving up at least 119 points in four of the seven games Shaq has played in and they gave up 113 to Memphis in one of the others. The amazing thing is it is teams like Detroit and Philly that are putting up those huge numbers.
The Nuggets know how important this game is and if they can focus and play hard for all four quarters they can win. The Nuggets have had some limited success against Phoenix in Denver as they have split the four games at the Pepsi Center the past two seasons.
I expect the Nuggets to win tonight, but no matter what the outcome at least we can count on seeing some entertaining basketball.
Head on over to Bright Side of the Sun for some great insight into tonight's game from the point of view of some Suns fans with tremendous basketball savvy.