By Ben York, Suns.com With a 3-2 record so far, the Suns’ two losses have been by a combined nine points by way of the top two seeds in the Western Conference last season. They return home Friday to take on the new-look Denver Nuggets. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona at 7:00pm and fans can listen to the radio broadcast on Arizona Sports 620. Click through to see five things Suns fans should watch for during #SunsVsNuggets.
Defending Home Court Playing well at home is always imperative for any NBA team. However, for a young team like the Suns, protecting your home court becomes even more important. Indeed, they’ve done well so far; Phoenix is 2-0 at US Airways Center this season. With three of their next four games at home, setting the tone against the Nuggets on Friday could be huge.
First-Year Coaches Jeff Hornacek and Brian Shaw are two of the NBA's nine first-year head coaches this season. Both former players who have earned rave reviews in their coaching debuts, Hornacek and Shaw are at the helm of two young teams with tremendous upside. Seeing the chess match between the two should make for a fun, entertaining evening.
Field Goal Percentage At 45.7 percent, the Suns are currently 10th in the league in field goal percentage. The Nuggets, however, are last in the NBA at 38.5 percent. Denver has also allowed an average of 90.0 field goal attempts per game. If the Suns can shoot the rock at a consistent rate while taking care of the ball and attacking the glass (check out the next two slides for more), it certainly bodes well for Phoenix.
Turnovers The Suns average 17.4 turnovers per game to the Nuggets’ 14.7. However, Phoenix forces 15.0 turnovers per game compared to Denver’s 12.0. Indeed, it seems as if the team who takes better care of the ball will emerge as the victor. Amazingly, both teams have the exact same turnover ratio at +2.4.
Battle for Rebounds Both good rebounding teams, the Suns (44.0 rpg) and Nuggets (47.0 rpg) have placed a heavy emphasis on controlling the glass this season. In fact, they’re virtually tied in terms of rebounding differential – Phoenix is +1.6 while Denver is +2.0. Rebounding, as they say, is a matter of effort and energy; if the Suns can win the rebounding battle, it likely means their defense is forcing difficult shots.