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Preview: The Nuggets return home to face the Phoenix Suns

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The Nuggets begin a tough four-game homestand with a rematch against the Phoenix Suns.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns are in town tonight to take on the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last week's match-up, a game in which the Suns ran away to a 105-81 victory. The Suns enter tonight's game as one of just four teams to rank in the top 10 in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency, along with the Warriors, Cavaliers, and Spurs.

In a scheduling anomaly, the Suns have played just three games on the road so far this season, going 1-2 in those three games. Tonight begins the first of two road trips for the Suns that will have them play nine of their next 11 games on the road. In that sense it is a big game for the Suns as they attempt to maintain their impressive play as they begin the toughest stretch on their schedule.

The Nuggets on the other hand appear to have found their footing at home, winning three straight at Pepsi Center including a statement win over the Houston Rockets.  Tonight's game marks the beginning of a four-game home-stand. While the team is returning home, this four-game stretch features four of the best teams in the league. The Suns are probably the easiest team in that stretch so getting out to a hot start will go a long way to keeping the team at or near the .500 mark.

The Basics:

Who: The Phoenix Suns (6-5) at The Denver Nuggets (6-6)

When: 7:00 PM MT

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver CO

How to watch: Altitude

Rival Blog: Bright Side of the Sun


Phoenix Suns
Denver Nuggets Advantage
PG Eric Bledsoe
Emmanuel Mudiay Suns
SG Brandon Knight
Gary Harris Suns
SF P.J. Tucker
Danilo Gallinari Nuggets
PF Markieff Morris
Kenneth Faried Even
C Tyson Chandler J.J. Hickson Suns
Bench John Leuer, Mirza Teletovic, T.J. Warren, Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Sonny Weems, Devin Booker
Darrell Arthur, Will BartonNikola JokicRandy FoyeJ.J. HicksonMike Miller, Kostas Papanikolaou, Joffrey Lauvergne

Even

Injuries: Jusuf Nurkic (out), Joffrey Lauvergne (out), Wilson Chandler (out).

Key Matchup: Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Eric Bledsoe

In their match-up last week, Bledsoe scored 30 points in just three quarters of play.  Neither Mudiay nor Gary Harris were able to contain Bledsoe in transition or keep him out of the paint. Bledsoe presents an interesting challenge for both Nuggets guards since he is one of the more stronger, more stout guards in the league. Bledsoe overpowers most guards in this league and has as much explosion from the point guard slot as anyone not named Russell Westbrook.  The Nuggets were coming off of a back-to-back in the team's first meeting with the Suns and that probably added to the challenge of guarding the high-motored point guard.  The Nuggets will need to contain the backcourt if they want to have a chance in this game.

What to watch for: Is the home court advantage back?

After dropping their first two home games in disappointing fashion, the Nuggets have rallied off three straight home wins. The team as a whole has looked much more impressive over the last 10 days, the lone loss at Phoenix being the one exception. It will be interesting to see if the Nuggets look like the team that beat the Pelicans, Rockets, Bucks, and went toe-to-toe with the Spurs, or if they look like the team that got crushed by the Suns last Saturday. Fatigue was a reasonable excuse the last time these two teams played since it was the second night of a back to back on the road, but there will be no such excuses tonight.

Want more on the Suns?

I happened to have just written and published 2000 words on them for my Friday column, The Pocket Pass, at Hardwood Paroxysm. The feature has some cool details including film breakdowns and some interesting notes on what makes them so effective as well as some notes on their biggest weaknesses.  Check it out.