Oubre Ties Multiple Career-Highs in Suns Victory Over Nuggets

Kelly Oubre Jr.
by Cody Cunningham

“Did y’all see Kelly Oubre today?”

Deandre Ayton came into the locker room speaking high praise for his teammate, following Oubre’s career-night against the Denver Nuggets. 

The Phoenix Suns had just played the Nuggets a few weeks prior, but a slow start for the Suns ended in their comeback falling just short in the final seconds. The Suns looked to build on that game as they came out aggressive on both ends of the court on Saturday night. 

A run near the end of the first quarter, capped off by an Oubre three-pointer, gave the Suns a double-digit lead early. The Suns continued to keep their foot on the gas as they took a 60-47 lead into halftime.

While the Nuggets outscored the Suns by one point in the third, the Suns looked to be on their way to defeating the number one seed in the Western Conference. It was Ayton stepping up in the fourth to help close out the game scoring seven of his 22 points in the final quarter. 

Through their defensive intensity and ball movement on offense, the Suns defeated the Nuggets in Phoenix 102-93.

After notching a career-high 26 points two games prior, Oubre hit that mark yet again as the Suns have now won both games in which he has scored 26. But for Oubre, he wanted to do more than just match it. 

“I’ve got to make my free throws,” Oubre said knowing how close he was to setting a new career-high.

Not only did he match his scoring-high, but his rebounds too. Oubre battled for boards all night as he tied a career-high of 11 rebounds, recording his second-career double-double. He also tallied three assists, two steals and a block in the victory.

“I’m just trying to get better as the team gets better,” Oubre said. “I’m trying to still get acclimated within the system.” 

This was just Oubre’s 13th game as a Sun, but his impact on the court is not only turning him into a fan favorite, but a favorite in the locker room as well. 

“His aggression has really been contagious,” Ayton said about Oubre. “How aggressive he is even shooting the three-ball and attacking the rim...We need more of that. Everyone crashing the glass and being aggressive.” 

Ayton had a tough matchup going against Nikola Jokic and the 20-year-old did more than hold his own. He scored 22 points on 50 percent shooting while grabbing 13 rebounds and getting three blocks.

The Suns were locked in defensively all night, holding the Nuggets to just 38.6 percent from the field and generating 11 steals and nine blocks.

“What impressed me the most is just how long we did it,” Josh Jackson said about the Suns defensive performance. “We did it for literally the whole game. Like, I can’t remember one point in time when I looked up and I felt like we were playing bad defense.”

While only scoring two points, De’Anthony Melton was crucial for the Suns on both ends of the court. He notched a career-high ten assists while also putting up four assists, three rebounds and a block.

Melton is the first Suns rookie with 10-plus assists and four-plus steals since Kevin Johnson in 1988.

“It shows that we’re on our up-and-up honestly,” Melton said. “That we can compete with the best of the best, especially in the west. Especially they got us one or two times already and this is kind of like a statement game that we’re not going anywhere and we’re going to keep improving.” 

The Suns hit the road as they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers on Tuesday night. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona. 

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