DENVER, CO - JANUARY 3: Coach Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets coaches his team on their next move against the Phoenix Suns on January 3, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
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Nuggets Notes: Malone Makes Good on Pledge to Expand Bench

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he’d go deeper into the bench, and he did just that on Wednesday night. By early in the second quarter, 10 players had seen time on the court, which marked a much bigger rotation than the seven or eight players Malone had been playing regularly for about a three-week span leading into the game against Phoenix.

One of those players on the court was Malik Beasley, and he made the most of the opportunity with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He added three assists, two rebounds, one block and one steal.

“You never know when you’re going to play,” Beasley said. “To know that I was going to play a little bit tonight, whether it was six minutes or 15 minutes, I just knew I had to come out there and compete and be ready. That’s what I do every day. I work hard to be ready.”

Beasley played 15 minutes in the game. Torrey Craig played 13 minutes in the contest, as they rounded out nine players that played double-digit minutes on Wednesday night.

Owning the Suns: The Nuggets have started to make a real habit out of beating the Suns. Wednesday night’s win over Phoenix was their seventh straight in the all-time series, and they’ve done so in dominating fashion. Their 134 points marked the fifth straight time they’ve scored at least 120 points against the Suns.

Barton fights through illness: Will Barton said he started feeling the symptoms on Tuesday night. By Wednesday, he’d had full-blown flu symptoms and was very questionable to play against the Suns. But he fought through to score 12 points with six assists in 20 minutes.

His play drew praise from head coach Michael Malone. Afterward, Barton said “I’m okay,” but acknowledged he was impacted by the illness.

“Just a little bit,” Barton said. “Was just trying to get my legs under me. … I felt better when I was on the court.”

Christopher Dempsey: christopher.dempsey@altitude.tv and @chrisadempsey on Twitter