The Phoenix Suns were battling fatigue, altitude, and travel problems to go along with the Denver Nuggets tonight. For the first 24 minutes, Phoenix looked up to the task. The second 24 minutes are when everything caught up to them, resulting in a 134-111 final score that wasn’t indicative of the 1st half’s competitiveness.
Phoenix outscored the Nuggets 41-27 in the 2nd quarter to take a 67-61 lead into halftime despite Gary Harris shooting out of his mind (28 points, 12-13 FGs). The Suns had 18 assists and shot 58.1 percent from the field, including 9-of-18 shooting from behind the arc in the 1st half.
The 2nd half was all Denver, though. They started the 3rd quarter on a 14-5 run to re-take the lead from Phoenix and carried that momentum throughout the period, outscoring the Suns 37-18. Denver would lead by as many as 23 points in a 4th quarter that quickly devolved into garbage time.
Harris led Denver, tying his career high with 36 points and shooting 14 of 17 from the field. Nikola Jokic looked passive for most of the game but still finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. In all, seven players scored in double figures for the Nuggets, who shot 62.2 percent for the game with 35 assists and outrebounded the Suns 48-35.
Phoenix had six players reach double figures scoring, with Devin Booker leading the Suns with 17 points. But he was just 4 of 13 from the floor, setting a trend for the Suns on a night they shot 42.2 percent. Greg Monroe had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his start in place of the resting Tyson Chandler, and Marquese Chriss continued his good play, notching 16 points himself. T.J. Warren had just 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
In an update on guys who’ve been MIA lately, Josh Jackson got back into the rotation after sitting out yesterday and had 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes. Kenneth Faried, meanwhile, had himself four points in seven minutes.