The Denver Nuggets, winners of four straight after they dropped their first three of the season, head to Phoenix on Monday night to battle the Suns.
The Nuggets' last victory came Saturday with a 107-101 double-overtime decision over the Golden State Warriors. Denver coach George Karl only went eight deep in that one and that meant starters Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari all played over 47 minutes.
The Nuggets had a huge edge on the boards Saturday. Three Denver players had double-figure rebounding games, including 17 from Faried, and the Nuggets hammered the Warriors on the glass, 65-54.
"Kenneth's energy on the boards and the offensive rebounds are giving us extra possessions so that we can survive shooting the ball as poorly as we're shooting it right now," said Karl.
And the Nuggets did shoot it poorly against the Warriors. Denver made 38 percent from the field, 20.8 percent from the 3-point line and a putrid 59.3 percent from the foul line.
Among the main reasons for these horrid numbers is Gallinari. He came into Saturday's game not even a 30-percent shooter and went 8-for-22 from the field against the Warriors. Gallinari righted the ship some and had all 21 of his team-high points in the second half and overtimes.
The Suns are excited to be home.
A win on Monday night and Phoenix will start a season 3-1 at home for the first time since the 2009-10 season, which, coincidentally, is the last season the Suns made it to the playoffs.
It hasn't been easy sledding for the Suns. They've trailed by double digits in six of their seven games and have played the second-most games decided by three points or less this season. Phoenix is 2-1 in those games decided by three points or less, all home games.
The Suns could not contend with the Utah Jazz' great front line on Saturday. The Jazz starting bigs, (Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson), combined for 58 points, 34 rebounds and four blocks.
What really ailed the Suns on Saturday was the first quarter. Utah jumped out to a 10-point lead and never looked back.
"Just another bad start," Suns coach Alvin Gentry lamented. "We keep digging ourselves holes and then try to dig our way out of it, and you can't do that, especially on the road."
Denver has won six straight in this series and two in a row in Phoenix. The Nuggets had lost 12 in a row in the Mile High City prior to this mini win streak.