Tonight the Phoenix Suns took on the Denver Nuggets in a game with huge playoff implications for the NBA Western Conference playoff race. The Suns weren't able to overcome sloppy offense and 16 turnovers, and lost a close one against the Nuggets on the road 105-99.
In doing so, the Suns slip back into 10th place after the Utah Jazz won over the Golden State Warriors as well. the Denver Nuggets hold onto their 8th seed in the playoff race and push their win streak to six consecutive victories over the Suns.
The Nuggets were led by the lights out shooting of Aaron Afflalo who scored 30 points on 11-19 shooting and 5-9 from beyond the arc. Al Harrington also did his part off the bench scoring 23 points on 8-19 shooting and going 4-10 from long range.
For the Suns, it was Shannon Brown who led the team with 18 points, but it should also be mentioned he was usually responsible for guarding Afflalo, who was left open far too often. Steve Nash did his part, scoring 14 points and dishing out 11 assists, and Channing Frye had a nice game as well with his 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Although the Suns shot the ball more efficiently at 42% compared to 40% for the Nuggets, and also won the battle of the boards in a big way 66-54, the game ultimately was decided by the 16 turnovers the Suns committed which led to 26 points for the Nuggets.
This is a tough game to swallow, but the Suns play again tomorrow night at home against the Los Angeles Lakers. That game suddenly becomes much more important after the loss tonight which set the Suns back in their quest for the post season.
Hang in there Suns fans, it ain't over yet! Read on after the jump for a look at the game notes
Koufos gets the start over McGee for Denver…Could be a good thing for Gortat
Four straight misses for the Suns to start the game.
Shannon Brown finally breaks the lid on the rim with the first bucket for the Suns
Frye with a big man block!
Nice post up by Jared Dudley to get the bucket and one…which he then misses
The Manimal works Frye down low to score the hoop plus get the foul
Koufos busted for the push on Gortat…his second foul. In comes McGee
Frye nails a three
McGee makes first dumb play of game by throwing Gortat for rebound…less that .30 sec after he enters
Brown hits a three now and Suns take a three point lead
Gortat now fouled by Faried on the rebound…Nuggs already in the penalty as Gortat is sent to the line where he hits 1 of 2
Rookie Jordan Hamilton making the most of his opportunity and has already scored 7 points in his first start for Denver
Suns up 13-11 halfway through the first quarter…Shannon Brown leading the Suns so far with 5 points
Gortat loses the rebound to Faried who then gets it to McGee for the dunk…Suns can’t get sloppy
Another Suns turnover and McGee dunks it to tie the game
Suns go on a 6-0 run to retake the lead 25-19…timeout Denver. Frye and Gortat both with 5 points and 5 rebounds a piece…Good work from the Suns front line so far!
Suns bench now trickling in as Childress replaces Dudley who already had 6 points and 2 rebounds. Harrington, Brewer, and Miller in for Faried, Afflalo, and Hamilton for Denver
Childress swats Brewer’s shot to end the first quarter…Very solid start for the Suns on offense and defense
Suns lead 29-21 at the end of the 1st quarter. Suns shooting 50%, Nuggets 33%. Suns with 22rbs, Nuggets with 12rbs. Suns with 5 TO’s, Nuggets with 0 TO’s. Frye and Brown leading the Suns with 7 points each, Jordan Hamilton leading the Nuggets with 7 points.
Suns bench unit starts the 2nd quarter with a defensive 3 sec. tech and then a turnover…They have to play smart
Redd picks up where he left off in Utah hitting his first attempt for 2
Suns defense looking slow to rotate and Denver making them pay…Denver cuts the Suns lead to 4
Crazy call by the refs calling a foul on Miller and then erasing the foul and giving it to Denver before finally giving it back to the Suns
Tough shot by Redd that doesn’t drop
Telfair snaps the net to keep the Suns up by 6
Suns second unit looking better now defensively, and forces the Denver offense to commit a turnover.
Redd misses another shot…maybe he’s cooling off
Harrington with back to back buckets to cut the Suns’ lead to 2
Turnover Suns that turns into a fast break for the Nuggs. Brewer is fouled and sent to the line where he ties it up
Dudley and Frye in for Childress and Morris
Afflalo hits a fade-away to take the lead…Redd works his way to the free throw line. Redd misses both
Nash and Gortat come in for Telfair and Lopez
Harrington nails a three and Denver is up by 5
Dudley gets a 2 on the other end but then Afflalo answers with a three
Afflalo hits a quick layup. He’s getting to the rim too easily…Suns need to do a better job at tightening up their D. Nuggets up 45-39 now with a little less than 5 minutes left in the first half.
Nash with a much needed 3 to stop the bleeding
Nash hits another bucket sensing the need to score
Brown hits a three and the Suns retake the lead
Watching Frye I’m really impressed with his attention to defense and rebounding in this game
Suns and Nuggets tied 52-52 at the end of the 1st half. Suns shooting 49%, Nuggets 39%. Suns with 34rbs, Nuggets with 24rbs. Suns with 9 TO’s, Nuggets with 2 TO’s. Dudley leading the Suns with 12 points, Afflalo leading the Nuggets with 17 points.
Afflalo hits a three to start the third quarter, Brown must stay on him as hot as he is.
Gortat hits a pick and roll lay up for two
Missed basket leads to transition jam by the Manimal…The Suns have to stay focused and committed to defense
Afflalo is left open again and drains another three…Where was Brown? Denver now up 60-54. Time out Suns
Suns with yet another turnover, already their 2nd of the 2nd quarter and 11th of the game…Too sloppy and it’s costing the Suns big
Gortat picking up a lot of fouls now with three in the quarter…Lopez may have to come in soon
Aaron Afflalo is absolutely scorching the Suns…They need to stop him if they have any chance of winning this game!
Dudley with a big 3!
Brown hits a jumper to pull within 2
Suns and Nuggets going back and forth
Suns losing the battle of the boards so far this quarter
Another turnover this time by Brown
Suns and Nuggets keeping it close…You get the feeling the Suns should be winning handily but the turnovers are killing them
Nuggets lead 78-75 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Suns shooting 47%, Nuggets 38%. Suns with 48rbs, Nuggets with 41rbs. Suns with 14 TO’s, Nuggets with 5 TO’s. Brown leading the Suns with 18 points, Afflalo leading the Nuggets with 27 points.
Suns bench in to start the 4th quarter
Miller takes Telfair on the dribble to score at the rim
Harrington also killing the Suns from deep…Hits another three to give the Nuggets a 6 point lead
Morris with his hands down on Harrington who knocks down yet another triple in his face. Hand down man down…
Redd hits a much needed 3…Suns down 1
Childress with an offensive putback
Morris looked to be in position for a charge on Harrington but the refs call it a block
Redd with a nice jumper bank shot and the Suns are up 3
Suns now on a 13-1 run…Bench doing its job!
Suns lead 94-90 midway through the 4th quarter
Suns starters coming back in…Need to finish it out strong!
Lopez turns the ball over…Lopez has been playing well defensively so Gentry may leave him in
Faried with a massive dink
Nash with the BIG 3!!!
Suns in a zone defense
Faried with a big alley-oop after getting behind the defense in transition
Gortat comes in for Lopez and fumbles a beautiful pass out of bounds from Nash
Miller gets to the rim to cut the Suns lead to 1 with just over 2 minutes remaining
Nash with a miss but grabs his own rebound and misses another 3 but misses that one as well. Gortat gets the offensive rebound (his 12th overall) and the suns keep possession.
Frye with a bad shot under shot clock pressure and Miller goes to the line after being fouled on the fast break
Miller hits both free throws to give Denver a 1 point lead
Afflalo with a dagger 3 from the corner to give the Nuggets a four point lead with :47 sec left.
Frye misses a three…that should do it
Nuggets win 105-99. Suns shoot 42% Nuggets shoot 40%. Suns with 66 rebounds, Nuggets with 54 rebounds. Suns with 16 TO’s, Nuggets with 5 TO’s. Brown led the Suns with 18 points, Afflalo led Denver with 30 points.