(CTN News) – The Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 119-115 on Thursday night behind seven 3-pointers from Chris Paul.
During the Phoenix Suns’ 40 minutes of play, Kevin Durant added six three-pointers, and Paul Pierce contributed 25 points. Durant’s performance improved the Phoenix Suns to 8-0 with the 13-time All-Star. Although the Nuggets were missing all five starters, it wasn’t easy.
Despite making just three out of 12 shots, Devin Booker scored 15 points by making 8 of 8 free throws. Booker’s other accomplishments included eight assists, 16 points from Deandre Ayton, and 11 points from Torrey Craig for the Phoenix Suns (45-35), who produced 17 3-pointers to Denver’s eight.
“It was a strange game,” Paul said. We learn from every game we play.
With 3:07 left, Paul’s final 3-pointer gave his team the biggest lead of the night, 114-107. A total of 7 of 12 shots were made from beyond the arc by Paul.
Paul said, “I should have made more.”. “That’s why these games are so important. I have never really seen guys getting doubled like this before.
The only thing we need from CP is for him to read the game like he has since college.
Durant was glad to have the opportunity to play 40 minutes.
It’s always good to log in late-game minutes,” he said. “I like to hover around forty minutes. In the fourth quarter, we had to make some meaningful plays.”
The Denver Nuggets (52-28) were led by Bruce Brown’s 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting. There were 20 points and six assists by Reggie Jackson, 15 points and 14 rebounds by Christian Braun, and 12 and 11 rebounds by DeAndre Jordan.
After missing three games with a calf injury, Nikola Jokic played 25 minutes in Tuesday’s loss to Houston. As well as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. remained out with injuries.
In spite of the full-strength Phoenix Suns, Nuggets coach Michael Malone was pleased with his team’s performance.
Malone said he was happy and almost a little ticked because he thought the team should have won. We were able to win because our guys fought, competed, and played with all their hearts.
As long as you take away the 3-point line, I think our defense was pretty good.”
THE WORKLOAD MANAGEMENT
The Nuggets clinched the No. 1 seed in the West on Wednesday when Memphis lost to the New Orleans Pelicans. A number of injuries have also forced them to withdraw their entire starting five on Thursday.
Jokic, a two-time MVP, averages 24.8 points and 11.9 rebounds.
Michael Malone said before the game that the Nuggets are just trying to be smart about managing their injuries as the season progresses. After playing 79-80 games to this point and consulting with our training staff, those guys have been dealing with these injuries for quite some time. We want to be smart about the positions we put them in.”
As well, the Phoenix Suns are locked into the No. 4 seed, but with Durant having so few games with his new teammates, Williams wants to strike a balance between what’s right for everyone.
The purpose of these games is to get guys to a place where they are comfortable, Williams said.