All five starters scored in double figures Saturday night as the Denver Nuggets pulled away in the second half to register a 123-113 win over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
Wilson Chandler led the way for Denver with 26 points, hitting 11 of 15 shots from the field. Will Barton added 25 on 10-of-14 shooting, converting 4 of 6 3-point attempts. Center Nikola Jokic nearly achieved a triple-double with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Guards Gary Harris and Jamal Murray chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively, as the Nuggets upped their record to 30-26 and moved into the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’re a half-game ahead of New Orleans.
T.J. Warren scored a game-high 31 points for Phoenix, making 13 of 17 shots from the field. Center Dragan Bender added 23, going 9-of-15 from the floor and canning three 3-pointers. Rookie Josh Jackson contributed 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Elfrid Payton made a good impression in his debut with the Suns, compiling 19 points, six rebounds and nine assists. But none of it was enough to keep Phoenix from dropping 21 games under .500 despite hitting nearly 55 percent of its shots.
Leading 94-89 as the fourth quarter started, Denver went on a 15-6 spurt to grab a 109-95 advantage with 6:30 remaining. Jokic was responsible for the last seven points. He passed to Devin Harris for a driving layup, canned two foul shots and then drilled a 3-pointer to cap the run.
The Suns countered with eight straight points, pulling within 109-103 on a dunk by Marquese Chriss with 4:29 left. But after Jackson missed a jumper that would have drawn Phoenix within four points, Barton and Chandler drained back-to-back 3s to make it a 12-point game with 2:53 left and decide the issue.
The Nuggets finished the game at 51.1 percent from the field, sinking 13 of 29 3-point attempts. The Suns carved out a 44-43 edge on the boards, but made just 14 of 25 at the foul line.
—Field Level Media