The NBA is set up with another great night of action to bring in the New Year. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 1. One of these games will be between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets. These two teams have had opposite starts to the new season, but I expect a good matchup between these two. This game will tip off at around 9:00 PM Eastern time.
The Suns have earned a record of 4-1 to open up the new season, which has them tied for the top spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix is coming off a nice win against the Utah Jazz last night and will look to carry momentum over into this one. The Suns have found great momentum to open up the new season and I expect them to come out strong again in this one.
Denver has put up a record of 1-3 throughout the early portion of this season, which has them in twelfth place of the Western Conference. The Nuggets have struggled to open up the new season after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season. Denver will look to turn things around in this one before the season gets too far in.
These two teams are in opposite parts of the standings early in this season, but there is still plenty of time for them to turn it around. The Nuggets are still with the strong lineup that made it to the West Finals last season, while Phoenix is looking to make a jump with their young lineup. If Denver can come out strong in this one though, they could drop the Suns down in the standings.
The Suns and the Nuggets met up four times throughout last season. The first meeting was in Denver on October 25. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 23 points, while Frank Kaminsky scored 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Murray finished with 27 points. Nikola Jokic dropped 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists on the night. The Nuggets were able to sneak away with a 108-107 win on the night.
Denver also hosted the second game of the season series on November 24. Cheick Diallo scored 22 points off the bench, while Dario Saric added 18 points and 17 rebounds. Paul Millsap scored 23 points. Will Barton and Jamal Murray both finished with 22 points on the night to help lead the Nuggets to another 116-104 win at home.
Phoenix hosted the third game of the season series on December 23. Ricky Rubio scored 21 points as the Suns starting lineup combined for 70 points. It still was not enough for Phoenix though. Jamal Murray scored 28 points, while Nikola Jokic finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. The Nuggets earned a 113-111 win on the road.
The final game of the season series was hosted by the Suns on February 8. Deandre Ayton scored 28 points and 19 rebounds, while Devin Booker had 21 points. Jamal Murray finished with 36 points as Denver dominated once again. Nikola Jokic added 23 points of his own to help lead the Nuggets to a 117-108 win to sweep the season series.
Devin Booker has been the leader for this Suns team this season. Booker is averaging 20 points per game coming into this contest. Mikal Bridges has averaged 15.5 points per game. Cameron Johnson is averaging 14.5 points per game, while Jae Crowder has averaged 12 points per game. Chris Paul is averaging 11.5 points and 9 assists per game. Deandre Ayton has averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Nikola Jokic is helping lead this Nuggets team. Jokic has averaged 24.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 13.5 assists per game this season. Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 19.5 points per game. Jamal Murray has averaged 17.5 points per game. Monte Morris, Will Barton and Paul Millsap are all averaging around 12 points per game as well this season.
These two teams have been led by their leaders to open up this season. Chris Paul’s addition to the Suns has helped open up the court this season. Michael Porter Jr. has stepped up this season for the Nuggets, which could help their team take the next step. The Nuggets will need to find a way to contain Booker again this season after keeping him quiet in their four meetings last season.
Field Goal Shooting
The Suns have been a solid shooting team throughout this season so far. Phoenix has made around 46.2 percent of their shots from the field, which is 16th in the NBA. The Suns have also made around 38.1 percent of their shots from deep, which is 8th in the league. Phoenix will look to control the paint a bit more coming into this one.
Denver has been strong when it comes to shooting once again this season. The Nuggets have shot around 50.1 percent with their shots from the field, which is 3rd in the league so far this season. Denver has also made 35.5 percent of their shots from deep, which is 18th in the NBA. The Nuggets will need to improve from deep if they want to spread the floor more.
These two teams have shot well this season, but could still improve. Denver needs to look to shoot better from deep to improve the spacing inside the paint. Phoenix has done a great job shooting the deep ball, but will look to do better in close. If either team can enforce their style of play in this one, it should lead to a great game on Friday night.
The Nuggets have been strong shooting wise throughout this season, but will look to improve upon that with a win in this one. Phoenix is coming off a nice win against the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, which I think will make them a bit tired coming into this one. If Denver can come out strong after an extra day of rest, I think they will be able to earn a big win in this one.
BetOnline has the Nuggets listed as a -4 against the spread in this one. This gives a solid edge to Denver coming into this one, which I agree with. I think that the Nuggets are the better team in this one and with the Suns playing the second night in a row, I think Denver can take over. If the Nuggets can have a solid start to this one, I really like them on Friday night.