Suns Rally For 103-99 Win Over Nuggets
DENVER (AP) — Markieff Morris scored 25 points and Gerald Green added 19, helping the Phoenix Suns rally for a 103-99 win over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Goran Dragic contributed 17 points, including two big layups down the stretch, in the Suns’ sixth win in seven games. They did most of their work behind the 3-point line, with Green tying a career-high with six. Phoenix was 12 of 34 from long range.
Wilson Chandler had 15 points for the Nuggets, who lost their second straight game at Pepsi Center to drop to 7-5 at home on the season. They were a franchise-best 38-3 last season.
Ty Lawson was in the lineup despite coming down with a case of the stomach flu on Thursday. He was slightly off his game, shooting 3 of 11 and finishing with 13 points.
Trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half, Phoenix tied it 88-all on a layup from Ish Smith with 8:21 remaining. Soon after, the Suns took their first lead since scoring the opening bucket when Dragic dribbled past Denver defenders for a layup.
Up 102-99 with less than 10 seconds left, Phoenix allowed Randy Foye to get a good look at a 3-point attempt, but Foye was off target. Morris sealed the win by making a free throw.
Dragic and fellow guard Eric Bledsoe entered the game averaging more than 18 points apiece. They combined for 27, with Dragic’s biggest buckets coming in the final minutes.
The fourth quarter turned into quite a show for Morris and twin Marcus as they combined for 16 points.
Jordan Hamilton served his one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Oklahoma City center Steven Adams on Tuesday. Anthony Randolph and Evan Fournier played more minutes in Hamilton’s absence.
Behind the hot shooting of Chandler, the Nuggets built a 21-point lead in the first half, only to have it whittled to 62-48 at halftime.
Nate Robinson continued to give the Nuggets a boost of energy off the bench. Asked before the game if there was anything more Robinson could do, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw quipped: “He can stay off the refs, that’s one of the things he can definitely do.”
That turned out to be quite relevant as Robinson argued with officials over a call at the end of the first quarter and then was given a technical for jawing in the second quarter.
At 15-10, the Suns may just be ahead of schedule in terms of turning around a team that had the worst record in the Western Conference last season. First-year coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game that his team is “winning some games against some good teams and that’s giving them confidence and helping to speed up the process a little bit.”
NOTES: Both teams return to the court Saturday night. Phoenix hosts the Dallas Mavericks while the Nuggets play the Clippers in Los Angeles. … Shaw knows Hornacek a little bit from their NBA playing days. Any tales to tell? “No stories,” Shaw chuckled. “(Hornacek) was just always a player that you had to respect and had to honor what he could do out there on the floor.” … Phoenix averaged a league-best 19.7 fast-break points, but were held to 14 on Friday. … J.J. Hickson had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
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