Suns Avenge Triple OT Loss, Rout Nuggets
Phoenix 116, Denver 101
DENVER, Feb. 15 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash made it clear early that the Denver Nuggets could not run with the Phoenix Suns again.
Nash had 19 points and 12 assists and Shawn Marion collected 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns rolled to a 116-101 victory over the Nuggets.
"These guys did a great job of coming out and dictating from the start," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Overtime is something we haven't had very much success at so we were just trying to finish it off early."
Nash assisted on Kurt Thomas' jumper three minutes into the game which gave the Suns the lead for good, 4-3, and ignited a 14-3 burst. The reigning MVP had three assists and six points during the run, including a driving layup with 5:58 on the clock that made it 16-6.
"We just wanted to be solid early because we weren't sure how our legs were going to be after the break," said Nash, referring to his team's four-day layoff prior to Wednesday's game. "We started to play really well and the guys did a good job tonight."
The Nuggets cut the deficit to 35-26 early in the second before the Suns broke open the game with a 15-7 burst. Raja Bell contributed five of his 20 points during run, which was capped by James Jones' 3-pointer with 5:35 left in the half that pushed the lead to 50-33.
Phoenix, which won its third game in a row, shot a blistering 71 percent (10-for-14) from the arc in the first half to take a 63-49 advantage.
"That's just the way it goes some nights," said Bell, who made 4-for-5 3-pointers in the first half. "Especially when they're open and we're doing the little things as far as ball movement and drawing and kicking when you don't have a shot."
"We passed the ball pretty well tonight," Marion said. "Everybody was looking for each other and making the extra pass. That's what helps us get going."
Nash put it out of reach by scoring 10 points in the third period, when Phoenix opened a 94-69 advantage before sitting in the fourth as Denver made the game respectable.
Boris Diaw had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Leandro Barbosa scored 10 points off the bench off the Suns, who shot 51 percent (46-of-90) from the field en route to their sixth win in seven games.
"Everybody contributed and everybody was making shots," D'Antoni said. "When the ball movement is like that and everybody gets involved, it makes it real easy."
Denver, which has lot seven of 10 heading into the All-Star break, missed all 14 of its 3-pointers - setting a franchise record for the most misses without a make.
"They hit shots and we didn't," Nuggets guard Andre Miller said. "They were spread out all over the place."
"Offensively, we didn't have a lot weapons," Denver coach George Karl said. "(Phoenix) played with more energy, urgency and desire. It's a possibility that we started the All-Star break yesterday."
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for the Nuggets, who were outscored, 36-30, on the fast break.
Oft-injured forward Kenyon Martin left the game with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter with a bruised left knee and did not return.