Everything is harder without Ricky

Phoenix fell in Denver without the base, which missed its third game followed by back problems. Juancho only played nine minutes.

Phoenix Suns fell this morning in his visit to Denver (116-104) in a game that ruled from the second quarter to the middle of the last, when the Nuggets ended their uprising. The Arizona team had a Dario Saric of ten (18 points and 17! Rebounds) and a Cheick Diallo who broke the local paint with 22 points and 6 catches from the bench. But, despite that, defeat. The fourth in the last five games, the third in the four duels that Ricky Rubio has missed. Because without him (and without the also injured Aron Baynes for hip problems), everything is much more difficult in Phoenix.

The Spanish international remains out of the set due to spasms in the back that have only allowed him to play 16 minutes (Sacramento Kings) in the last five games. And Phoenix notices. Note the absence of the MVP of the World Cup that had started the season at a fast pace: 12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 8.1 assists. Never before in his career did NBA catch so many balls. Since the 2016-17 academic year I had not overcome the 8 basket pass barrier. And it was the third time he reached a dozen so many on average. Not bad.

The Suns lose control and pace of the game without him. They lose intelligence. They lose a lot. And their options to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010 are complicated. A lot of time. Too much for a team that was hit since the beginning of the season with the penalty to Deandre Ayton and that saw Devin Booker's worst day in months. The escort was in its lowest figures in the launch (13 attempts) and in success (five baskets) for only 12 points ... when he averaged 26.5 before starting the crash. A decline in benefits that makes them fear for seventh place in the West: the Kings, ninth, are on the prowl with only half a difference meeting against

The Nuggets, meanwhile, stand firm. It is his fifth consecutive victory (9 of 10), the third best streak in the League after that of Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, which link seven in a row. They are seconds to a game and a half of the Angels, but with the Clippers waiting. The Doc Rivers won the New Orleans Pelicans well and are only a duel. His triumph this morning was sweaty. And much, really. Phoenix, with all its problems and absences, put those in Colorado in trouble, who pulled the classics: Millsap threw himself to 23 points, while Murray and Barton reached 22. Big Plumlee role from the bench with a 14 +7 fantastic in just 16 minutes and dog day for Jokic, who with 8 goals signed his offensive contribution lower than we have of course. Juancho Hernangómez was on the court for 9 minutes and caught one of the 52 rebounds that Denver got.

Photos from as.com
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