Coming off of two losses that brought much frustration, the Suns looked like they were on their way to a third against the Denver Nuggets. With Denver taking a lead that would go as high as 22 and bring the boos from the home fans, the Suns recovered in the second quarter, but would allow the Nuggets to go on a 16-3 run in the third quarter that was too much to overcome in the fourth. The Nuggets held their lead in the fourth quarter and won the game 104-96.
Early in the first half there was the same lifelessness we saw on Sunday and Monday from the Suns and it was even more embarrassing against a shorthanded Nuggets team that had just played last night. Denver was without Emmanuel Mudiay, Jameer Nelson, Danilo Galinari, Wilson Chandler and Jusuf Nurkic.
This led to head coach Mike Malone starting both Kostas Papanikolaou and Mike Miller, two players that could easily not be in the NBA. The more startling fact was that one of them was playing power forward and at the start of the game the team had three offensive rebounds compared to one for the Suns.
The lead grew to as much as 22 for the Nuggets and it was not very difficult at all. All the Nuggets had to do was work hard and they would be rewarded. Head coach Jeff Hornacek continued to make changes in the second quarter with the giant deficit.
He played Markieff Morris, Jon Leuer and P.J. Tucker at the center position until something finally clicked with Tucker, T.J. Warren, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price all sharing the floor. A 22-6 run brought them back in the game and a lively crowd -- compared to most nights -- helped put them right back in the game.
Despite Denver struggling mightily the past week in the third quarter and just playing last night, they went on a 16-3 run in the third quarter to take over the game once more.
Then, Ronnie Price caught fire. He would hit two straight threes in the fourth quarter to make it six total for the game and the Suns made another run right back. That had the crowd at its loudest of the night and was surely the energy the Suns needed.
Turns out, it wasn't. The Nuggets pulled away with the same basic offense and hustle that had them out to big leads in the first and third quarter.
That got them confident and like many noted on twitter, everyone who plays against the Suns looks comfortable. This is when you get nights like Randy Foye scoring 30+ and 25+ assists for the team.
Thoughts in the comments?