In the first two quarters, the Denver Nuggets were in complete control of the game thanks to a balanced scoring attack, dominant rebounding and ferocious defense.
My, how things changed.
Led by Markieff Morris (25 points), the Suns came charging back and found a way to defeat the Nuggets in shocking fashion. Phoenix got just 12 points combined from starters P.J. Tucker (1-for-8), Channing Frye (1-for-6), and Miles Plumlee (3-for-7). An even closer look at the stats, however, makes the win even more baffling.
Denver (14-11) not only dominated in rebounding (53-44) and free throw percentage (86.2 to 67.7), but they also held a slight edge in field goal percentage (41.2 to 39.8) and players who finished in double figures (6-5). However, they failed to turn that into an opportunity to catch the Dallas Mavericks (15-11) for the seventh seed in the playoffs.
The two saving graces for the Suns were their three-point shooting (12-for-34 to the Nuggets’ 4-for-17) and their lack of turnovers (11 to 16). That, fueled by an inspiring second half, was all that they needed to get a victory on the road and keep the No. 5 seed in the tough Western Conference. The Suns remain second in the Pacific Division behind the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Nuggets will try to bounce back quickly from their loss when they hit the road to take on the Clippers just a day later. Similarly, Phoenix will return home to face the Mavericks on December 21.