Two of the biggest surprise teams of this NBA season met on Friday night when the Denver Nuggets took on the Phoenix Suns. Both teams came into this contest sporting 14-10 records and that currently slots them as the seventh and eighth seeds for the Western Conference playoffs.
As has been a recent trend, Wilson Chandler had a strong first quarter for the Nuggets, scoring 12 points and leading all scorers through the quarter and would end up tied for the most points in the first half (14) in this one. Chandler hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to give Denver most of its first half threes. Randy Foye also chipped in a 3-pointer as the Nuggets shot 3 of 9 from behind the arc in the first half.
Denver is limiting its opponents to an NBA-low 32.4% three-point shooting percentage. Meanwhile, Phoenix is the 10th best 3-point shooting team in the league, giving the Nuggets perimeter defense a chance to step up to the challenge in this one. Denver allowed the Suns to shoot 5 of 15 from deep in the first half.
Point guard, Ty Lawson was fighting the stomach flu going into this contest. The Nuggets would need their top guard for this one with the Suns unconventional method of starting two point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. The Phoenix pair each had 7 points and 2 assists at half. After leading by as many as 21 in the second quarter, Denver went into the locker room up 62-48 and it looked like Nuggets fans would get tacos and a big win. The Suns only first half lead came at the start of the game when they led 2-0.
Denver obviously failed to learn in their first meeting with the Suns this year that this team can score points pretty easily. Phoenix outscored the Nuggets 24-20 in the third period behind 12 points from Gerald Green to close the gap 82-72, in favor of Denver. The Morris twins once again took it to the Nuggets in this one with Markieff Morris posting 15 points and 6 rebounds through 3 quarters and Marcus Morris adding 8 points. In the last duel between these teams, Markieff posted a career-high 28 points against Denver.
The Nuggets carried a double-digit lead into the final period only for Markieff Morris to continue to have his way with them, scoring 10 points in the 4th quarter and finished with 25 for the game. JJ Hickson posted 9 points and 10 rebounds in the quarter to try to keep the Nuggets afloat. But Phoenix outscored Denver 31-17 on their home floor in the 4th quarter. Evan Fournier launched a desperation 3-pointer as time would expire, but the basket would not count as it came after the buzzer sounded. The Suns rally to win this one 103-99 on the first half of a back-to-back for both teams.
- This was the first time in 10 games that the Nuggets had a lead after the first quarter
- Six Denver players finished in double-digit scoring (Arthur, Chandler, Faried, Foye, Hickson, Lawson)
- Jordan Hamilton served a 1-game suspension following an altercation with Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Nuggets could have used Hamilton’s scoring punch off the bench as Phoenix’s bench outscored the Nuggets 64-34
- Denver lacked energy in the second half and the Suns took advantage, out-fast-breaking the Nuggets 13-0
- After putting up 62 points in the first half, the Nuggets only managed to score 37 in the second half
- Denver has now lost 5 home games after only losing 3 all of last season
- Chandler’s recent disappearing act after the 1st quarter continued, netting only 3 points after a 12-point first quarter to finish with a total of 15 points on the night
|Wilson Chandler 2013-14 Scoring Through 19 Games|
|1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||4th Quarter||Total|
Next up for the Nuggets is a one-game road trip to face the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center at 8:30pm (MST). We will have your coverage right here at Hardwood Gold Rush.