It was a high scoring game, but the Suns were able to out-score the Nuggets 117-103 to improve their record to 23-17.
Right out the gate, P.J. Tucker hit a three to start the game for the Suns, followed by the fast-break by Goran Dragic and a three by Channing Frye. The Suns jumped out to an eight point lead before Ty Lawson finally scored at the rim for the Nuggets.
The Suns got careless with an inbound pass the turned into points for the Nuggets. However, both Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green got in on the action early as well with two nice buckets at the rim. When it looked like the Suns were going to start building the lead, a quick bucket inside by Timofey Mozgov got the Nuggets to within two.
Wilson Chandler hit a jumper to tie it, but then Leandro Barbosa checked in an immediately got to the rim for the Suns. However, a pick and roll dunk by J.J. Hickson evened the score.
Barbosa continued to attack the rim and scored another two quick baskets for Phoenix. However, Denver is keeping the game close all the way by capitalizing on quick baskets off missed shots by the Suns.
Markieff got himself going for the Suns, and Dragic got the steal from Lawson, racing him down court and beating him for the finish at the rim...not easy to do against one of the fastest players in the league.
Alex Len checked in and got fouled hard by Wilson Chandler going to the rim...Barbosa had to hold Len back who was ready to mix it up again...This is one fiery Ukrainian!
Chandler was called for the flagrant one foul and Len went to the line to knock down both shots and the Suns were given possession. Dragic was fouled and able to convert both of his shots as well...a four point possession!
Len got to the line again on the next trip down and was able to convert one of two. Len is showing a lot of hustle and physicality out there...he's definitely earning his minutes. The Suns lead after one, 34-25.
LB with another quick drive and basket to start the second quarter...Meep,Meep! Markieff Morris and Ish Smith both pushing the tempo and getting baskets in transition early for the Suns as well.
For the Nuggets, Evan Fournier is doing a great job of hitting open shots...Kenneth Faried is still struggling so far, only 1/4 from the field...hopefully he doesn't get it going tonight. Anthony Randolph got his shot to go, but Markieff is off to another hot start for the Suns, already with 9 points in only 8 minutes of play.
Channing Frye's also making his mark known, he currently leads all Suns with 10. The only player not finding a way to contribute right now is Marcus Morris who is 0/3 at the moment and has yet to register a rebound or assist either.
Frye hit another couple of threes...He is officially en fuego at the moment. 16 points on 6/8 shooting for Channing in only 12 minutes...scratch that, he now has 18 points after hitting another jumper. Sizzling!
The Suns and Nuggets continue to trade baskets on both ends of the court, with multiple players getting in on the action. Plumlee is really struggling to find that hook shot still...and Steve Albert made an astute observation that it seems to be affecting his defense as well...It certainly has. With Alex Len playing the way he is, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some extended minutes if Plumlee can't break out of his funk.
Hickson is playing ultra aggressive out there...He gets his hands on rebounds and finishes strong inside. He is the interior presence for Denver, and a pretty good one at that.
At the half, the Suns keep the lead over the Nuggets with a score of 62-56. Frye currently leads the Suns with 18, Fournier leads the Nuggets with 14. Both teams are shooting well so far, 51% for Denver and 50% for Phoenix. The Suns lead with 6 steals compared to just two for Denver, but the Nuggets are controlling the glass so far with 23 rebounds compared to 19 for the Suns.
Green started the second half with a three point make. Then, foul posted up on Ty Lawson and dunked on him...probably my favorite play of the night so far. Faried with another miss for Denver that led to a reverse lay up by Dragic for the Suns.
Dragic with another lay-up off the glass now...The Dragon is starting to take over! Timeout Nuggets as the Suns heave stretched the leaf now to 71-57...up by 14, their largest lead of the game thus far.
Wilson Chandler stops the bleeding for Denver with a nice drive and finger roll at the rim, then hits a three on the next possession to close the lead back to nine. Ty Lawson also hits a jumper and now the lead is down to seven.
Frye gets a tip off a Green miss to end the mini-run for the Nuggets, but then Chandler hit another three for the Nuggets...He's definitely keeping them in this game.
The Dragon hits a jumper to keep the Suns in the lead, but Chandler once again hits a three to shrink the lead even more. Plumlee once again misses at the rim...only 1/5 at the rim and really struggling. He only has 4 rebounds so far as well. You have to wonder if Len is getting ready to check back in sooner than later.
Barbosa checks in and gets to the rim...he now has 10. Fournier hits another three to shrink the lead down to just four, but Frye's hits a jumper to put the Suns back up by six.
Plumlee goes for the block on Hickson and comes down awkwardly and rolls his ankle. Markieff comes in for him instead of Len. The Nuggets are continuing to fight and keep the game close...the Suns need to get good shots and get stops at the other end to keep them at bay.
Frye goes to the line and hits one of two, but it's enough to tie his season high of 25. The Suns maintain the lead up 84-79 to end the third. Will they finish this game with enough hustle and energy to put a much needed "W" in the win column?
Ty Lawson starts off the fourth quarter with a quick bucket for the Nuggets to shrink the lead to just three...but then Frye hits a threem and then a baby hook off a quick drive to the basket on the next possession to increase the lead, and register his new season high of 30 points.
Alex Len comes in to make his second half debut now as Markieff moves over to power forward to replace Frye who picked up his 4th foul. Len scores off a pass from Ish Smith...he now has 5 points, which is more than Plumlee. I bet you didn't see that coming, huh?
The Nuggets are continuing to fight hard, but the Suns second unit is playing with tons of energy, making plays on both ends of the court to hold off any attempt to make a comeback. They lead 95-86 with just over seven minutes to go in the game.
More back and forth scoring for both teams, with both teams making and missing an equal amount, but the Suns are able to keep the lead without the first unit in the game and only five minutes left in the match.
Len cleans up another miss at the rim to score his season high now of seven points. He's also playing hard on defense and affecting the inside shots for the Nuggets who have switched to mostly a perimeter game at this point.
With just under five minutes to go, the Suns are still being led by the Ish Smith express who is leading fast breaks and diving to the rim on nearly every possession. Ish now has 7 points, 4 assists, and 6 rebounds.Marcus Morris is finally makinbg his mark after a very slow start tonight...he now suddenly has 10 points.
The Suns are leaving the second unit in to finish this one. They have played the entire fourth quarter and done an outstanding job.
Ish passed to Len for the two-handed dunk to put the exclamation point on this game, he now has 9 points adding to his season high, as the Suns cruise to victory 117-103, and improve their record to 23-17.
Nice win for the Suns, and an important one as well.
Channing Frye led all scorers and registered a new season high with 30 points in just 27 minutes of play. He also had 5 rebounds and 3 blocks...Huge night for Frye! Markieff Morris had another very productive night with 16 points on 6/11 shooting and 5 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa had a nice welcome back to Phoenix night with his 13 points, 3 assissts, and 4 rebounds.
For the Nuggets it was Anthony Randolph who had a quiet 19 points along with 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Evan Fournier, Wilson Chandler, and Ty Lawson all pitched in with 17 points a piece.