DENVER, Dec. 20 (Ticker) --
Playing at a high altitude clearly did not
affect Amare Stoudemire
, Quentin Richardson
and the Phoenix
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Stoudemire scored 32 points and Richardson added 19, including a
follow shot at the buzzer, as the Suns edged the undermanned
Denver Nuggets, 107-105, for their ninth straight victory.
collected 15 points and 10 assists for the
league-leading Suns (22-3), who have won 18 of their last 19
Despite missing star forward Carmelo Anthony
ankle) and center Marcus Camby
(bronchitis), the Nuggets hung
tough, twice tying the game in the last minute on baskets by
, including a driving layup that knotted the
contest, 105-105, with 16 seconds left.
In a hectic final sequence, Richardson had a layup attempt
blocked by Denver big man Nene
. Stoudemire grabbed the rebound
and missed a follow shot, but Richardson tipped in the rebound
to stun the Pepsi Center crowd.
"My first dunk got blocked," Richardson said. "But I knew the
second one was good. The light was on, and I saw the ball going
threw the hoop."
"It was a great game," said Phoenix head coach Mike D'Antoni,
whose squad shot 53 percent (43-of-81). "I thought we were a
little sluggish and they were, too. It was like two heavyweight
fighters going back and forth."
Denver, which played without Anthony for the second straight
game, led throughout the first half and held a 54-53 edge at the
break. Phoenix went on an 11-0 run to open a 75-64 advantage
with 4:36 remaining in the third quarter but Denver fought back
and closed the gap to 81-77 at the end of the period.
"I am very proud of the effort that my players gave tonight,"
Nuggets head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We played well
shorthanded against the hottest team in the league. We just
came up a little bit short."
collected his first double-double of the season
with 23 points and a season-high 11 assists for the Nuggets, who
shot 51 percent (43-of-84).
"We made a good scramble at the end," Miller said. "It was a
good effort by both teams. We had a tough road trip and we
still came out and played hard."
Neither team led by more than four points during the exciting
fourth quarter. The final five minutes saw ties on four
"The final minutes are the fun time to play the game," Nash
said. "Especially when it's close like that and you're on the
road. It's just fun to challenge yourself."
Martin added 22 points and 11 rebounds and Nene chipped in 19
and 10 for the Nuggets, who visit Seattle on Wednesday night.
Anthony is listed as questionable for the contest and Camby is