Postgame Central: Suns vs Nuggets - March 10, 2011
Box Score & Stats
23The three point shot failed the Suns on Thursday night as they went 5-22 (23%) in their loss to the Nuggets. Four players hit from beyond the arc and Jared Dudley (2-2) was the lone Sun to knock in more than one.
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Quote of the Game
"The good thing about this team is that we know where we made our mistakes and next game everybody’s going to play better and we’re going to bring more energy. So, I really hope so, it’s only going to be one game."
Suns Go Cold Against Denver
By: Bob Baum
PHOENIX (AP) Nene scored 22 points in 26 minutes and the Denver Nuggets won in Phoenix for the first time in 13 tries with a 116-97 rout of the mistake-prone, cold-shooting Suns on Thursday night.
Coach George Karl ended an even longer drought in the desert. The Nuggets' coach had not won in Phoenix since Dec. 28, 1997, when he was with the Seattle SuperSonics. Karl had not won in Phoenix as coach of Milwaukee or Denver until Thursday night.
The Nuggets, playing for the first time since losing to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday, converted the Suns' 20 turnovers into 32 points and shot 52 percent to Phoenix's 41.
Ty Lawson added 20 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets, who led by 24 after three quarters.
Marcin Gortat had 14 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds for the Suns, who never led in their second-worst home loss of the season.
Phoenix made 5 of 22 3-pointers while blowing a chance to pull within a half-game of idle Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Wilson Chandler added 16 points as Denver improved to 6-2 since the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.
Vince Carter, coming off a 32-point performance in the Suns' win over Houston on Tuesday night, made 2 of 11 shots - 0 of 5 on 3s - and scored six points.
Phoenix committed 14 turnovers in the first half, and the Nuggets efficiently turned them into 24 points. Two came on bad passes by Hakim Warrick on consecutive possessions, the first with 6.1 seconds left in the half, the second with 4.9 seconds to go. Each resulted in two points for Nene, two on an uncontested dunk and two on free throws.
The Nuggets shot 57 percent in the first half, then opened the third quarter with a 6-1 spurt to go up 65-50 on Lawson's 21-footer, the guard staring at the Suns bench as he backpedaled down the court after the basket.
Denver poured it on from there. When Aaron Brooks inexplicably fired a 3-pointer, and missed, with six seconds left in the third quarter rather than working for a final shot, that allowed J.R. Smith to sink a 3 at the buzzer that made it 90-66 entering the fourth quarter. By then, though, the conclusion long had been cemented.
Denver broke open a 22-12 lead and the Suns never caught up.
Phoenix cut it to 36-34 on Jared Dudley's baseline drive with 7:24 left in the second quarter. But the Nuggets responded with a 14-4 run that made it 50-38 on Smith's second 3-pointer of the night 3:51 before the break.
Fittingly, the game ended with a Phoenix turnover.
Notes: The Suns' worst home loss was 121-96 to the New York Knicks on Jan. 7. ... The loss was the worst overall for Phoenix since a 34-point drubbing in Denver on Jan. 11 that left the Suns a season-worst six games under .500. ... The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, appeared at the game. ... The game's only ties after the tip were at 2-2 and 4-4. ... A win would have put the Suns five games above .500 for the first time this season.
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