NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 17th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (25-56) at Denver Nuggets (56-25), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets secured home court in the first round of
the playoffs, but still have a lot at stake Wednesday night when they wind
down the regular season at home against the Phoenix Suns.
When the Nuggets toppled the Milwaukee Bucks, 112-111, on Monday night in
Milwaukee, the Nuggets couldn't fall out of the top four in the Western
That guaranteed home court in the first round and that's huge for a Denver
team, which is an NBA best 37-3 at home.
"I think it's huge," said head coach George Karl. "Don't get me wrong, the
team we'll play in the first round is capable of beating us on our home court.
I always felt home court, if it's an even series, it's tough to win twice on
their home court. I don't know who we'll get, but it's going to be a good
team. And our home court, I know teams don't like to play there."
The Nuggets have no clue who they will play in the postseason, or what seed
they will be.
While the Nuggets, who are currently third, can't drop to fifth, they could
fall to fourth. Denver is one game clear of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, and visit the
Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
If the Clippers win on Wednesday and Denver loses, the two teams will have the
same record, but the Clippers would get the third seed by virtue of winning
the Pacific Division, even though the Nuggets won the season series, 2-1.
It's also undecided who will be the sixth or seventh seed as the Golden State
Warriors and Houston Rockets are battling for that spot.
Kenneth Faried will be out for the Nuggets on Wednesday.
The Suns will be watching the postseason on television. They will finish with
the worst record in the Western Conference, although they knocked off the
Rockets Monday night in Phoenix.
"It felt really good for us to win our last home game. Guys really played
hard," said interim head coach Lindsey Hunter. "I thought that we adjusted and
our guys defended well. P.J. Tucker did an unbelievable job guarding Harden
and we finished the game the right way at home."
Four Suns scored 20 points or more, led by 26 from former Rocket Luis Scola,
who also had 15 rebounds. Another former Houston player, Goran Dragic, also
had a double-double with 21 points and 14 assists.
Tucker and Markieff Morris also cracked the 20-point plateau.
The Nuggets have won seven of the last eight against the Suns, although
Phoenix prevailed earlier this season. Denver has taken four in a row in the
Mile High City.
04/17 10:30:20 ET