The Phoenix rode Markieff Morris and Miles Plumlee to a great win over the Nuggets that saw both teams take big leads, one after the other.
The Nuggets made a final run with a couple of threes to cut the lead to four, but Eric Bledsoe made a big layup in traffic and then a long straight-away three to seal the win.
Bledsoe finished with 15 points, 9 assists and 3 steals. Markieff Morris had a career high 28 points with 9 rebounds, and Miles Plumlee had 18 and 11. Marcus Morris had 11 points himself, only the third time the twins have both had double digit scoring games on the same team together.
The Suns started the game hot by scoring at the rim and from the three-point line with consistency, racing to a 24-13 lead before the Nuggets woke up. The players were really focused on getting their shots either going to the rim or rotating into an open three.
Nuggets briefly took the lead 36-35 early in the second quarter off 3 straight steals (turning into 7 points) by the hyper athletic Anthony Randolph. Randolph can't do much with a basketball, but he's got some serious length to disrupt passing lanes.
But then the Suns settled back down to two alley-oop dunks and a three, quickly retaking a 9-point lead and forcing a Nugget timeout. At this point, Gerald Green makes the All-Suns team. That guy is playing like a man possessed.
The Nuggets stayed in the game by shooting well - making 59% of their shots despite an 8-point deficit halfway through the second quarter.
By late in the second quarter, the Suns had forced the Nuggets to play pretty small by putting Channing Frye at the 5-spot and spreading the floor with the Morris brothers, Gerald Grean and Bledsoe out there. That's a tough team to defend with their length and shooting ability.
Still, the Nuggets kept themselves in the game with shooting and hustle, though they spent a lot more time trying and missing midrange shots once the Suns D settled down.
And then Dionte Christmas turned into "the Polar Express" on a fast break layup that signaled a second-quarter rout was on.
By halftime, the Suns lead was 17, the last two points on a "Mozgov". That poor guy. After getting nutmegged a couple years ago by Blake Griffin, Mozgov was twice crossed up by Miles Plumlee for reverse layups and then Markieff Morris rose to the "13th floor" over top of Mozgov for a putback slam on a Suns missed free throw. It was glorious.
In the first half, the Suns outscored the Nuggets 64-47, outrebounded them 27 to 18, out-assisted them 14 to 8, outblocked them 3 to 0 and outstole the ball 5-3.
Markieff Morris had 14 points and 5 rebounds by halftime, while Miles Plumlee had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Suns leading scorer Eric Bledsoe had only 4 points as he was happy setting up for others, racking up 7 assists in the first half alone.
This was a clear and present pasting through halftime.
Next question: can the Suns handle success?
Well, the Suns came out flat to start the second half while the Nuggets started on a 12-5 run before Hornacek called a timeout to focus the guys. Curious to see if they can "turn it back on".
Denver tried to come back with Darrell Arthur and Anthony Randolph on their front line. And it worked. Denver went on a 27-3 run at one point, and took a whopping 10-point lead before the Suns could take a breath. Ty Lawson had 21 points in that run alone. Crazy stuff. The Suns just couldn't stop the bleeding.
Luckily, the Suns started with a 17-point lead and woke up a bit at the end to cut the Denver lead to 3.
At the end of the quarter, Ish Smith made a 3-point play the old fashioned way, and then made a steal for a fastbreak layup by Markieff Morris. Morris was so excited, he drew the crowd to its feet by waving his arms in a real, live "Make Some Noise" moment.
Still, Ty Lawson outscored the entire Suns team 21-20 in the third.
The Suns quickly tied the game on a Marcus Morris 3 and three stops (sandwiching two other Morris jumper misses). The Suns were fortunate that Denver couldn't keep their momentum.
The scoring bounced back and forth for much of the 4th quarter. Markieff Morris had a career high 25 points with eight minutes to go. He was hot. And then he showed how focused he was by dumping off a pass to Miles Plumlee for an easy layup rather than driving into a charge call.
The Suns finally grabbed a 5-point lead at 100-95 on a 3 by the other Morris. Really, these last three games are what the prior regime thought they might be getting when they acquired the Morrii. These guys are such a mismatch because they can move, dribble, shoot and make shots while rebounding and defending on the other end. When they are engaged. Somehow, Hornacek has them engaged more than any prior NBA coach could do. Maybe it's the Kendall Marshall trade/release. Maybe it's just them growing up. Or maybe it's the right coaching. Whatever it is, I like these Morrii.
In the end, the Suns regrouped and finished the game on a high after dropping to a 10-point deficit. The crowd was quite excited, spurred on by inspired Suns basketball.