January 26, 2019 / 4:46 AM / 24 days ago

Nuggets outclass Suns despite Jokic's absence

EditorsNote: Changed Nuggets to Nuggets’ in 4th graf

All five Denver starters and three reserves scored in double figures, and the Nuggets used a late second-quarter surge to take control on Friday night and defeat the visiting Phoenix Suns, 132-95.

Paul Millsap scored 20 points while recording nine rebounds and three steals to pace a balanced Denver offense. Mason Plumlee had a stellar game, scoring 16 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out six assists.

Jamal Murray, who came in averaging 28 points, six rebounds and six assists in three games against the Suns this year, was held to 13 points, all in the first quarter.

Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets’ leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, was not in the arena after being suspended by the league earlier Friday for leaving the bench area during a scrum in Wednesday’s loss to Utah.

With the game tied at 47-all midway through the second quarter, the Nuggets went on a 23-8 run to wrest control of the game and take a 70-55 halftime lead.

The Suns came out in the third with a bounce to their step, scoring the first four points. But Millsap scored seven of the next nine points for Denver, and the Nuggets opened up a 79-61 lead, deflating any hope the Suns had of coming back.

The Suns have lost seven straight since beating the Nuggets on Jan. 12. Phoenix was coming off a 14-point loss to Portland on Thursday and is now 0-9 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.

Phoenix was hoping to have Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) back in the lineup, but the rookie missed his fourth straight game. The Suns also were without T.J. Warren, Richaun Holmes and De’Anthony Melton.

Devin Booker scored a game-high 35 points, the 11th time this season and the eighth time on the road that he cracked the 30-point mark. Josh Jackson added 17 points, and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 13 off the bench.

The two teams combined to make 47 of 55 free-throw attempts. Even without Jokic, Denver dominated the glass, outrebounding the Suns, 57-35.

—Field Level Media

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