Just Thursday night, the Nuggets hosted the Phoenix Suns here in the Mile High City. Tonight, we will face off again in the Talking Stick Resort Arena. Although the Nuggets pushed the season series to 3-0, the big win wasn’t the talk of Nuggets Nation following the game.
With two minutes to go in the 4th quarter, we lost Nikola to injury. After waiting for what seemed like forever for results, the x-ray and MRI both came back negative and Jokic was diagnosed with a hip strain. What are the Nuggets going to do without Nikola Jokic tonight?
The first two meetings between our Nuggets and the Suns, we still had Jusuf Nurkic in the starting lineup and it’s expected that he’ll be starting tonight (and Tuesday) in The Joker’s place. While nobody can truly replace Jokic, the Bosnian Beast has averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 rebounds per game against the Suns. I’d love to see him step it up tonight.
In the last three games, the Nuggets have scored 120 or more points to gain their victories. The Suns have only averaged just under 113 ppg. Currently, the Nuggets rank 28th in the league in scoring defense at 111.1 points allowed per game. Phoenix is right there with them at 29th in the league at 111.8 points allowed. The Suns have dropped their last two games at home.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Nuggets do without their star center tonight, but I truly do believe that they can put everything together well enough to take a sweep of the season series.
“He’s been playing out of this world for us — our best player. It would be tough to see him go down for a long time. I’m just happy he’s fine.” –Will Barton on Jokic
Us too, Will. Us too.
Nuggets Stats: Suns Stats:
FG%: 46.3 FG%: 45
RPG: 46.5 RPG: 44.6
APG: 24.3 APG: 18.4
- We need someone, whether it is Nurkic or someone else, to step up in the absence of Nikola Jokic.
- Last game against Phoenix, the Nuggets out-rebounded the Suns 46 to 28 (and 19-8 on the offensive glass).
- Last time out against Phoenix, the Nuggets attempted 35 free throws, making 30 of them. The suns only attempted 17 free throws. Get to the line early and often.
Emmanuel Mudiay (back) OUT
Nikola Jokic (hip) OUT
Dragan Bender (ankle) OUT