The second game of the Suns back to back to back this week takes them to Denver to face a banged-up Nuggets squad. George Karl's Nuggets are missing leading scorer Danilo Gallinari and leading rebounder Nene Hilario to injury, and have won only 2 of 6 games this month.
Steve Nash and the Suns will attempt to bounce back from cold long-range shooting against the Warriors in Oakland last night. Suns starters shot only 4-18 from behind the arc, and the offense again stagnated down the stretch as the Suns fell to 13th place in the Western Conference with a 102-96 loss.
As the Suns near the halfway point of the season (this will be their 29th game out of 66) and the trade deadline is only a month away, they don't have much time left to make a move in the standings before it's time to focus even more attention on next season, and possibly make more roster moves.
Will the Suns give us something to love in this game on Valentine's Day? Or will Suns fans take a walk down lonely street to Heartbreak Hotel?
The Nuggets are the league's highest scoring team at 103.9 points per game, and play with the fastest pace. Suns fans who have been watching their matchups with the Nuggets are well-acquainted with the Nuggets' fast, explosive offense. In the last three regular season games between the teams, the Nuggets put up 138, 132 and 116 points, then ran the Suns into the ground twice this pre-season for good measure.
Injuries to Gallinari and Nene will help the Suns cause, but the Nuggets are still a dangerous team. They just snapped a 5-game losing streak but those losses were to the Lakers, Blazers, Rockets, Mavs and Warriors, all of whom the Suns are looking up at in the standings.
This will be another game in which the Suns' best chance will be to keep the pace moderate and limit the turnovers that the Nuggets can convert to running opportunities. The Suns simply don't have the athletes to get into a track meet with the Nuggets, especially in the thin air of Denver and having played the previous night.
No surprises here, the Phoenix Suns future is not so bright. According to a couple of ESPN "analysts" the Suns are 29th on their "Future Power Rankings". And just to be clear, that's on a scale of 1 to 30 so 29 is bad but not quite as bad as the Bobcats.
At the end of the day, who really cares where these guys ranks the Suns on their fancy list. 29th. 27th. 23rd. That doesn't matter. What matters is the core truth
exposed revealed reminded by this ranking.
This Suns team has a) a few questionable long-term contracts thanks to Robert Sarver's panic spending in the wake of Amare's departure b) only one real prospect on the roster (Markieff Morris) thanks to some questionable drafting (Earl Clark, Robin Lopez) and c) one fewer first round pick and one fewer young point guard thanks to a failed trade last year.
Oh, and Happy Valentines Day! Try not to let this "news" get you down. Try eating some chocolate, that's often helps.
Also try and remember that these things have a way of turning around sometimes.
Remember how bad things looked for the Diamondbacks in July 2010? Remember last week when the Knicks didn't have a point guard and Mike D'Antoni was about to get canned?
There's a couple of truths in life for situations like this: Things change in unexpected ways and ESPN Analysts aren't all-knowing gods.