December 30, 2018 / 5:26 AM / 25 days ago

Nuggets hang on for road win against Suns

EditorsNote: minor fixes

Jamal Murray ignited a 46-point performance with a pair of early 3-pointers as the Denver Nuggets scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed en route to a 122-118 victory over the host Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Murray’s total was his second-highest of the season. He went for 48 points last month against Boston.

The Nuggets bolted out to a 36-16 advantage after one quarter and went up by as many as 25 in the second period.

The Suns scratched within 10 in the third quarter and then 113-110 with 1:51 remaining when T.J. Warren and Mikal Bridges bombed in consecutive 3-pointers.

But Murray hit two free throws and Nikola Jokic hit a short jumper to stretch the lead to seven, allowing the Nuggets to absorb 3-pointers by Warren and Bridges inside the final 31 seconds.

Murray connected on a career-best nine 3-pointers and was 16-for-24 overall for the Nuggets, who won their second game in two nights after having disposed of San Antonio 102-99 at home on Friday.

Jokic approached a triple-double with 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists for Denver, while Malik Beasley added 15 and Juan Hernangomez 10.

Paul Millsap chipped in with six points in 14 minutes in his first game back after missing eight straight with a broken toe.

Deandre Ayton poured in a season-best 33 points on 16-for-20 shooting to go with a game-high 14 rebounds for Phoenix, which had opened a seven-game homestand with a 118-102 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night.

Devin Booker had 27 points and eight assists, while Warren finished with 22 points and Bridges 17 for the Suns, who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

Denver outshot Phoenix 55.3 percent to 53.8 and outscored the hosts 54-33 on 3-pointers.

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