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Game Recap: Undermanned Suns fall short in Denver, 126-97

The Suns just didn’t have enough gas in the tank for this one.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns dropped a tough one on the road in Denver on Wednesday night.

This game had “schedule loss” written all over it due to it being the second of a back-to-back on the road against the best home team in the NBA at full strength.

It was just about as ugly as expected, though the Suns did show some fight briefly early on, the rest went as scripted. Nikola Jokic dominated with ease and wasn’t needed after the first three quarters when the game was well out of reach.

Phoenix drops to 21-22 on the season, clinging for dear life to one of those final play-in spots in the Wild Wild West.

Key Performers

Torrey Craig — 16 points, 5 rebounds, 6-6 FG

Josh Okogie — 14 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal on 5-13 FG.

Nikola Jokic — 21 points, 18 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal on 10-15 FG.

Bones Hyland — 21 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal on 7-12 FG.

1st Half

The Suns opened up the game with some energy early on, jumping out to a brief 6-4 lead after a pair of buckets from Bismack and a duce from Bridges.

They would mostly trade baskets with Denver for the rest of the 1st quarter, trailing 29-26. The Nuggets then extended the lead to 6 heading into the second quarter led by 12 first-quarter points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Josh Okogie led the Suns with 9 points on a perfect 4-4 shooting from the field off the bench.

Things started to get ugly in the second quarter with Denver pulling ahead led by a well-balanced offensive outburst.

The Nuggets outscored the Suns by 10 points in the 2nd and scored a total of 36 points in the period.

The Suns entered halftime trailing by a count of 70-to-54. The second quarter was just a precursor of what was yet to come.

Silver linings were tough to come by, but Torrey Craig was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field at the half.

2nd Half

As expected given the circumstances... things only got worse in the second half.

The impact of playing the second game in two nights in the Mile High City started to show, as the Suns came out flat and looked gassed.

Phoenix only mustered 21 points in the 3rd quarter, while Denver put together another 30-point quarter to extend their lead to 25.

Denver entered the fourth up 100 to 75.

The 4th quarter was fairly uneventful as the benches cleared (well, as much as they can for Phoenix) and the teams traded buckets with the game already decided.

In the end, it was too much Denver on both ends for an exhausted and shorthanded Suns squad. As mentioned before, there wasn’t much to write home about in this one after things got out of hand.

A Bright Spot!

Newcomer Saben Lee (who just signed a 10-day contract with Phoenix) scored 8 points on 2-4 shooting with 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 15 minutes of action in his debut.

Star Performer

Torrey Craig — 16 points, 5 rebounds, 6-6 FG

Not a lot of options here, but a perfect shooting display (albeit a small sample) gets the job done here I suppose.

What’s next?

Friday @ Minnesota Timberwolves — 6 pm AZ time

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