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News » Suns-Nuggets Preview 2009-12-12

Suns-Nuggets Preview 2009-12-12

Suns-Nuggets Preview 2009-12-12The Phoenix Suns delivered another solid offensive performance at home in their latest game, but they've looked out of sync so far in December on the road.

Denver hasn't been a place where they've struggled to score historically - but winning has been another matter.

The NBA's two-highest scoring teams meet for the first time this season Saturday night at the Pepsi Center, where Phoenix tries to reverse its recent woes away from home and avoid a fifth straight road loss to the Nuggets.

The Suns (16-7) played 15 of their first 22 games on the road, averaging 108.5 points while going 8-3 during their first 11 away from home.

Since the end of November, however, Phoenix's offense on the road has taken a turn for the worse. The Suns averaged 94.5 points in dropping their last four games in opposing venues, limping home hoping to get Steve Nash and their high-octane attack clicking once more.

Phoenix jumped out to a 61-52 halftime lead Friday against Orlando and held on, benefiting from Amare Stoudemire's 28 points and Nash's 18 assists to escape with a 106-103 victory.

"It's a win that we desperately needed, obviously, with the schedule that we have coming up," coach Alvin Gentry said. "It's very important for us to try to keep this thing going at home."

The Suns play two of their next three on the road before finally returning to US Airways Center for a lengthy stretch, playing 10 of 12 there beginning Dec. 19.

A stop at the Pepsi Center doesn't look too inviting considering the recent history in the series. The home team has won the last nine games in the series - four in Denver - as they've combined for an average of 236.8 points with just 1.8 points per game separating the clubs.

Chauncey Billups had 26 points in Phoenix's most recent visit to Denver, leading the Nuggets (16-7) to a 119-113 win in overtime on Jan. 15 despite Carmelo Anthony missing due to injury.

Anthony, who's averaged just 20.5 points on 38.1 percent shooting in his last four games against the Suns, hasn't had any problems scoring lately, but it hasn't always led to a Denver victory.

Anthony scored 34 points in the Nuggets' 107-95 loss at Charlotte on Tuesday, then poured in 40 in a 101-99 loss in Detroit on Thursday. It was the fourth 40-plus point game of the season for Anthony, the NBA's leading scorer at 30.3 points per game.

"He's amazing when he gets into that offensive groove," coach George Karl said. "But we just didn't have enough guys going with him."

Denver, though, is 9-0 when Anthony scores fewer than 30 points. It was 8-1 when Chauncey Billups had topped 20 prior to the loss to the Pistons, when the former NBA finals MVP had 21.

"We're not a great team," said Billups, who's shooting 34.4 percent in the Nuggets' seven losses. "We're a good team. We should be winning games like this, and the Charlotte game."

Stoudemire has averaged 23.4 points on 67.8 percent shooting in his last five games in Denver, but the Suns' chances to pick up their first win in the Rocky Mountains since Feb. 5, 2007, may come down to what help the player who starts alongside Stoudemire up front can provide.

Phoenix is 9-1 when Channing Frye scores at least 12 points, yet Frye has scored 12 points total in the Suns' last three games.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 12, 2009


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