Suns Doomed By Mistakes In Blowout Loss To Nuggets, 116-97

Well, that was ugly.

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Phoenix Suns Blasted By Turnovers In 116-97 Loss To Denver Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns were never in this game as they handed the Denver Nuggets their first win in Phoenix since 2004. By "handed them the win" we are referring to the 32 points the Nuggets scored off the 19 Suns' turnovers. Denver was more athletic and active on both ends of the floor as they over-powered the Suns in a wire-to-wire rout.

The Suns defense which had shown signs of improvement in recent weeks reverted back to early season form as they allowed the Nuggets to shoot 67 percent in the first quarter and score 24 of their 30 points in the paint. Alvin Gentry responded with a lot of zone defense but that didn't help much either as the Nuggets attacked the baseline and still found ways to score at the rim.

"If you look at the points in the pain, which was 66, and if you look at their (points off turnovers), 32, I mean that's almost 100 of their points. You will have no chance to beat this team if you have those kinds of stats," Gentry said after the game.

The banged up Steve Nash looked particularly sloppy and slow as turned the ball over six times and only record seven assists and seven points in 27 minutes of play. His backup, and the guy the Suns trade Goran Dragic and a first round pick, wasn't very effective either despite the nine points he put up in garbage time.

The only bright spot for Phoenix was Marcin Gortat's 18 rebounds. For the first time since arriving in Phoenix, he started the second half in place of Robin Lopez who continues to baffle and disappoint with his performances of late.

The Nuggets were led by  Nene's 22 points but got the balanced scoring and defense that coach George Karl lauded before the game.

"Are we an offensive or defensive team?...I don't know. They both were pretty good. I probably think tonight we were more dominating defensively," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

For postgame videos of the press conference and locker room videos, visit SB Nation Arizona's YouTube page. Postgame fan reaction at Bright Side of the Sun.


Steve Nash Groin Injury Update, 'I'm Not Right, But I'm Getting There'

Steve Nash is still battling through a groin injury similar to the one he suffered in November. He's working hard on his rehab, to the point that the twice daily movement exercises are leaving him with tired legs in games. Between the rehab work and injury itself, his ability to shoot the ball is diminished. 

"I'm not moving well, I can't shoot well, I just don't have the facilities to do it right now," Nash said after shootaround this morning. He's 3-21 from the three-point line in the last nine games.

So far, defenses aren't playing him differently but Steve is confident that if they lay off him he will hit enough shots to make them pay. Coach Gentry was asked if he would adjust anything in a late-game situation based on Nash's situation. Not a chance.

"Even if he's 2-15, if there's an open shot to be had we'd like for him to be the guy shooting it," Gentry said, "We wouldn't deviate at all in that situation, Steve's going to be involved in the play."

The good news is that Nash feels like he's making progress and didn't suffer any set back in the Suns Tuesday game against  the Rockets in which he played 35 minutes and scored nine points to go with 14 assists.

"I feel like if anything I'm improving and not getting worse. I'm not right, but I'm getting there. Just got to keep working at it," Nash said.

Other Notes:

  • Denver has an 11-20 road record and hasn't won here in their last 12 tries with the last win in Phoenix coming on April 7, 2004. George Karl hasn't won in Phoenix since he coached the Sonics (December 28, 1997).
  • Gentry said he's not adjusted his play-calling too much with Frye out. In the last game, the Rockets were trapping the post and the bigs did a good job moving the ball. "We don't run a whole lot of plays where our forwards end up being facilitators."
  • Arron Afflalo won't play for the Nuggets tonight. Gary Forbes will start but expect to see Felton and Lawson together in the back court. That's tough to defend but at the same time, Carter or Pietrus will be able to post them up.

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