Notebook: Nuggets 108, Suns 93



Posted Mar 12, 2013 1:52 AM

Jerry Brown, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Kosta Koufos had the first 13 points of the game for Denver and finished with a career-high 22 as the Nuggets pounded the Phoenix Suns for 74 points in the paint and rolled to their ninth straight win, 108-93 Monday.

Corey Brewer had 20 points and Ty Lawson had 19 points and six assists as the Nuggets, who have averaged 111 points during this winning streak, continued to pile up the points with a balanced scoring attack. They have now won four straight on the road and go home where they are 29-3 and go for their 14th straight win at Pepsi Center on Wednesday -- when Carmelo Anthony makes his long-awaited return to Denver.

Wesley Johnson had 18 points, and Marcus Morris had 10 of his 16 in the first quarter for the Suns, who had won four of their last six but couldn't keep pace with the Nuggets without centers Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O'Neal. Hamed Hadaddi came off the bench to score a career-high 13 points and add eight rebounds in 18 minutes, but the Suns ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as Denver pulled away.

QUOTABLE: "They dominated us driving the ball. They are a good team and we did a good job of staying close but they just tightened the screws and pulled away from us."

-- Suns coach Lindsey Hunter

THE STAT: The Nuggets now have bookend nine-game winning streaks during a run that has seen them win 19 of the last 24 games.

THE STAT II: Denver scored 108 points while making just three of 13 3-pointers. But a team that averages a league-best 57.4 points in the paint put up 74 against the Suns -- 22 of them coming on the fast break.

QUOTABLE II: "Kosta has a great understanding of how to get underneath a defense when the defense makes mistakes. He probably had three or four putbacks tonight, he's gaining confidence by doing the little things of playing basketball. He and JaVale (McGee) give us two guys than can have big nights."

-- Nuggets coach George Karl on Kosta Koufas

TURNING POINT: After the Suns pulled to within two points at 72-70 on a Jared Dudley 3-pointer with 3:10 left in the third quarter, the Nuggets held Phoenix to just six points over the next seven minutes to open a double-digit lead.

HOT: Koufus had Denver's first 13 points of the game -- all from three feet and closer -- and made 10 of 11 shots from the floor during his career-high scoring night of 22 points.

NOT: Goran Dragic had another subpar offensive night, missing six of nine shots and scoring just eight points in his 36 minutes.

NOTABLE: Shannon Brown, banished to the bench for most of Hunter's tenure as interim coach, made a surprise appearance in the second quarter. After 10 straight DNP's, Brown played eight minutes and had two points.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Wednesday vs. New York, Friday vs. Memphis, March 18 @ Chicago. For the Suns, Wednesday @ Houston, Friday @ Atlanta, Saturday @ Washington.