The Denver Nuggets have not beaten the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix since before Steve Nash re-joined the Suns in 2004. That's a total of 11 consecutive home wins for Phoenix over Denver. Tonight will certainly be a challenge for the Suns to keep that streak alive as they come in after last night's road win over the Lakers while the Nuggets are fresh and rested. That said, there's a reason the Suns have won 16 of the last 22 meetings between these two teams -- the Nuggets are a good match up for the Suns.
The two teams right now are very much alike. Both are small in the front court with the Nuggets missing bigs Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin due to knee injuries and the Suns just being the Suns. If there's any game that Phoenix can afford to not have Robin Lopez in the lineup and playing well, it's against the Nuggets, who will start Nene and Sheldon Williams and back them up with Melvin Ely and Gary Forbes. Nene is a decent player, but he doesn't have the length and mobility to bother the Suns nearly as much as other bigs.
The Nuggets excel, like the Suns, on the play of their wings and backcourt. Carmelo Anthony is still playing in Denver for the time being, but Grant Hill has managed to slow him down over that past few years. It will remain to be seen if Grant can get his old body up and rolling for this game on no rest, but typically, even if his shot isn't falling, he still manages to stay in front of his man.
The back court rotation of Chauncey Billups, Aaron Afflalo, JR Smith and Ty Lawson is the group that does the most damage for the Nuggets. Those four account for 43 percent of Denver's scoring. The Suns, however, have the top rated back court in the NBA. They lead in points per game (59.1), assists per game (14.8) and are fourth in assists per game (16).
The Nuggets (5-4) are ranked sixth in offensive efficiency and 20th in defensive while the Suns are second and 29th, respectively.
This game is the second in a brutal six-games-in-nine-nights stretch that includes four of the league's best teams. With the win last night in Los Angeles, the Suns are off to a good start and another victory tonight would take the pressure off the next two game set in Orlando and Miami on Wednesday and Thursday.