Notebook: Suns 110, Nuggets 100

Posted Nov 13, 2012 9:20 AM

By Mike Tulumello, for

THE FACTS: The Phoenix Suns need to hit some shots. The Denver Nuggets need some home games.

The Suns got what they wanted, hitting enough clutch shots to fend off the visiting Nuggets 110-100 Monday night.

Both teams are now 4-4.

In coming from 10 points back early (16-6), the Suns knocked off a team that has killed them the past two seasons. The Nuggets had won six straight against Phoenix; the Suns' last win against them was two years ago (Nov. 15, 2010).

The Suns, usually one of the NBA's top shooting teams, entered the game shooting barely 42 percent, 22nd in the league. They hit nearly 46 percent in this one -- including 52 percent in the final quarter -- while committing a season-low six turnovers.

"We have good shooters," Suns guard Goran Dragic said. "We need them to space the floor and make the shots."

The Nuggets, who had their four-game win streak snapped, are in the midst of an unenviable opening schedule, with 17 of their first 23 on the road.

"Our schedule is crazy," coach George Karl said.

The Nuggets used their early-release fast-break game for 17 points in the first half; the Nuggets led 57-54 at the break. But the Suns limited them to four such points in the second half.

"We did a much better job of making them play in the halfcourt," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Dragic had an excellent game with 21 points, seven assists and just two turnovers. Michael Beasley added 16 points, while Marcin Gortat had 12 points, 11 boards and two blocks.

For the Nuggets, Andre Igoudala had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Kenneth Faried hit 6-for-7 for 14 points and 11 boards. JaVale McGee came off the bench to hit 8-for-12 for 16 points.

QUOTABLE: "Everybody is getting a little more familiar with each other ... The idea of just knowing the guy beside you a little better."
-- Gentry

THE STAT: The Suns stayed almost even with the NBA's top rebounding team; the Nuggets outboarded them just 43-40.

TURNING POINT: The Nuggets had cut a Suns' 92-84 lead to 97-96 with less than 4:00 left. Then Dragic buried a 24-footer from up top, and -- after Markieff Morris hit two free throws -- Morris stole the ball from Ty Lawson. That set up a fast-break layup by Shannon Brown that made it 104-98. Dragic followed with a 19-footer with 1:38 left that gave the Suns a 106-98 lead that sealed the win.

QUOTABLE II: "I have no doubt he'll have a lot of success. That's who he is. Guys enjoy playing for him. As far as defense is concerned, it's a little different when you have a defensive player of the year (Dwight Howard). You have a good defensive team."

-- Gentry on his close friend, Mike D'Antoni, taking the Lakers' job.

HOT: The Suns, hitting just 30 percent on 3-pointers, were 7-for-12 in this one.

NOT: The Nuggets made only 11-for-18 from the free-throw line.

IN THE ARENA: The Monday night crowd, announced at 14,060, had to be one of the smallest ever since the building opened 20 years ago. There appeared to be fewer than 10,000, and many were members of the military and veterans who were guests of the Suns.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Brown continues to be effective as a Suns' sixth man. He is averaging 14.4 points.

NOTABLE: Morris broke out of his season-opening seven-game slump to play his best game by far. He had 13 points and six boards. He even hit his first 3-pointer this season after missing his first seven. "It feels like I haven't hit one since 2007," he said.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Thursday vs Miami, Saturday @ San Antonio, Monday @ Memphis. For the Suns, Wednesday vs. Chicago, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Saturday vs. Miami.