April 4, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson (3) passed the ball past New Orleans Hornets power forward Jason Smith (14) during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Nuggets 94-92. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The All Important Matchup With The Suns

The Denver Nuggets season has been a roller coaster ride and tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns could make or break the ride.

The Nuggets, who are 29-25, are currently sitting in eighth place and hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, they also hold a one-game advantage over the Suns (28-26), who got a big win on Wednesday when they went into Utah and knocked off the Jazz with a late Steve Nash jumper.

Denver has had an up and down season, with some mighty wins and also some lowly losses. The last 10 games have been a great example of this Nuggets squad. They have had impressive wins against the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic and embarrassing losses to the New Orleans Hornets and Toronto Raptors.

The Suns on the other hand have been much more consistent. winning their last three games and winning four of their last five on the road. Phoenix’s lone losses in the last 10 games have been on the road to Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers and at home against the San Antonio Spurs. All of which are top playoff teams.

Marcin Gortat has been solid in the post, averaging nearly 17 points and nine rebounds over the last 10 game. Nash may not be playing at the MVP level he once was, but he still is good and is averaging a double-double (12.8 points and 11.2 assists).

In the first of three games between the Nuggets and Suns, Nash and the Suns other veteran Grant Hill didn’t play and the Nuggets cruised to an easy 109-92 victory. Arron Afflalo led the Nuggets with 20 points and Ty Lawson added 17. Chris Andersen, who has not played in nine of the past 10 games, also gave Denver a spark off the bench – scoring 16 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking six shots.

No doubt, the matchup between Nash and Lawson is important. When the two matched up last season, the Nuggets won 116-97 and Lawson had 20 points and 11 rebounds – while Nash was held to only seven points and six turnovers.

Denver also must control Gortat as well, not to mention Channing Frye will be another tough challenge for rookie Kenneth Faried. Frye is one of the better shooting big man and Faried’s biggest weakness right now is defending the perimeter.

If the Nuggets win, they could potentially move up to seventh. However, if they lose they drop to ninth and potentially out of the playoffs.

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Tags: Arron Afflalo Boston Celtics Channing Frye Chicago Bulls Chris Andersen Grant Hill Kenneth Faried Los Angeles Clippers Marcin Gortat Miami Heat New Orleans Hornets Orlando Magic Phoenix Suns San Antonio Spurs Steve Nash Toronto Raptors Ty Lawson Utah Jazz

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