Here is what you don't want to have happen ... lose a close, hard-fought game one afternoon and the next night have to play a fast-paced, high-scoring team. Well, the Nuggets will be doing exactly that in a few hours in Phoenix to play the Suns.
Update, I'm an idiot and the game is in Phoenix!
The particulars ...
Denver: 39-20 (24-5 at home, 14-15 on the road)
Phoenix: 37-24 (22-7 at home, 15-17 on the road)
Denver current streak: Lost 1. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Phoenix current streak: Lost 1. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
Denver: Renaldo Balkman. Ty Lawson (left shoulder) is doubtful according to the Denver Post. (Credit Beefyswats)
Phoenix: Leandro Barbosa (right wrist) is out.
Opposition's Take: Bright Side of the Sun
So many thoughts running through my head ... let's see if I can make any sense here.
The best way to slow down a fast-paced Suns team? Make them play a close game in San Antonio the day before. The Suns had been riding a 5-game win streak until they left Texas. The Spurs pulled out a 113-110 win over the surging Suns in dramatic fashion.
With nothing but the rim between Richardson and a game-tying basket with 41.8 seconds left, he blew a one-handed dunk on a breakaway as the rest of the Phoenix Suns watched in disbelief, while the San Antonio Spurs savored their good luck in a 113-110 win on Sunday."I don't like to miss dunks, especially in crunch time like that, but it's one of those things that happens," Richardson said. "You can't do anything about it."A very tough and embarrassing play for Richardson, but it happens to the best of players.
Phoenix has been very similar to the Nuggets this season in regards to their home and away records. The Suns are notoriously good at home and have been this season, but on the road the team is vulnerable, Nugget fans can sympathize.
I think we all know what the Suns want to do ... make the game a controlled, but extended fast-break (led by the best in the business for that style of play with Steve Nash). Phoenix also continues to be like a college team (not a knock) by hitting momentum crushing and lead pushing three-pointers. Amare Stoudemire does most of heavy lifting in the paint and the unorthodox bench scorer, Channing Frye, loves to bury shots from beyond the arc (4.9 attempts per game). I call Frye "unorthodox" because he's a center, but has a sweet stroke.
The last time these teams squared off Phoenix came to Denver and gave the Nuggets a good old fashioned butt kicking. The Suns won the game 109-97 and had six players score in double-figures. I was at this particular contest and the energy the brought was ... well ... they Nuggets forgot to bring any energy. Over the course of an 82-game season you definitely see some stink-bomb games and that contest was definitely one of them.
It'll be interesting to see how the Nuggets rotations work tonight with Lawson expected to sit out. How much burn will Anthony Carter get and what impact can he have on the game? I'm also curious to see if there is any Hollywood hangover from the L.A. loss yesterday and how Melo will respond to what had to be a frustrating day for him. It has got to be a breath of fresh air not to have Ron Artest hounding you, but don't expect Melo to find much breathing room against a suffocating Suns defense. A Suns defense? Yes, Jared Dudley and the constant double-teams could pose a problem for Denver's leading scorer.
We've seen plenty of bounce-back games from Denver this season and we could really use one more tonight.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos: David Zalubowski