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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 13th (All times eastern)

Denver Nuggets (53-28) at Phoenix Suns (52-28), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are both headed to the postseason but their respective fates are still to be determined as the NBA's regular season races toward the finish line.

The Nuggets close their regular season tonight knowing a victory would clinch their second straight Northwest Division title, the third seed in the jumbled Western Conference playoff race and enable the club to match the franchise single season record for wins.

That's easier said than done, however, since Denver has lost 10 straight in the desert against the Suns.

The Nuggets moved one-half game ahead of idle Phoenix and Utah for the No. 3 seed in the jumbled Western Conference with a 123-101 rout over visiting Memphis on Monday but were eliminated from contention for the second spot when Dallas topped the Clippers.

J.R. Smith led a balanced attack with 26 points, including six treys against the Grizzlies. Arron Afflalo notched a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony added 21 points and Nene chipped in 20 for Denver, which has won 10 of 11 versus Memphis.

"Just the way we played, moving the ball, playing the way we have been wanting to play for awhile and we did that tonight," said Anthony.

A Jazz loss at Golden State tonight would also give the Nuggets the division crown.

While Denver is one victory away from securing the No. 3 seed, Phoenix could also earn it with a triumph tonight plus one in Salt Lake City against Utah on Wednesday.

Most recently, Amare Stoudemire poured in 35 points and pulled down 13 rebounds as Phoenix used a big fourth-quarter run in a 116-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Channing Frye connected on a pair of three-pointers, while Steve Nash and Jason Richardson also hit from long distance during Phoenix's 14-0 spurt for the Suns.

"I knew in the fourth quarter we had to ramp it up a notch. The game wasn't quite going our way...they were playing well and knocking down open shots...it was hard going there for a little while and so in the fourth quarter I knew I had to bring intensity and dominate," Stoudemire said.

Nash contributed 23 points and 11 assists, while Richardson had 14 points in Phoenix's seventh consecutive home win.

The Suns, winners in 12 of 14 overall, have taken two of three from Denver so far this season.

04/13 10:34:51 ET

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