The Denver Nuggets erased a double-digit deficit to earn a big win over the Phoenix Suns on the road and go above .500. Denver was better, only after OT, 130-126.
Mike Malone’s side now has 8 wins and 7 losses, looking a bit better than at the start of the season. The guests were down 71-57 early in the third, but they scored nine straight points to make the game close again.
The early final period saw the teams leveled, and that stayed throughout the entire last sequence. Neither side managed to score during the final minute of the regulations, leaving the result at 114-all intact.
Phoenix suffered a major setback in the overtime, as they had to finish the same without their best player, Devin Booker, who had to leave the floor after a big fall. The Nuggets used that to get away to close the match and secure a win.
Booker had 31 points until the moment once he had to leave the floor, shooting 11-for-21 and having both five boards and assists each.
DeAndre Ayton was superb, missing just two of his 13 shots from the field, for 27 points and 13 rebounds, six of them offensive. Miles Bridges also had a double-double with 24 points and 10 boards, making six threes in 8 attempts.
“They have been together for a while, so they have been in a lot more game like that, (playoff-type) games like that,” Bridges said. “Credit to them, but if we limit the turnovers, we have a chance to win it.”
Chris Paul scored just 11 points but had 15 dimes in 39 minutes.
On the other side, Jokic was, as usual, unstoppable. The Serbian center and one of the frontrunners for the MVP award dropped 31 points, with 10 rebounds and 8 assists, while hitting 15 of 27 shots from the floor.
He had great support. Gary Harris scored 19 points, Jamal Murray 18, with one big three in the last minute of the overtime. Murray also had 9 assists and seven boards with three steals.
Will Barton was noticeable as usual, with a couple of big baskets. Denver’s forward scored 17 points, Paul Millsap added 12, and Monte Morris added 17 off the bench.
Nikola Jokic does it all in the @nuggets W!
31 PTS | 10 REB | 8 AST | 3 STL pic.twitter.com/NiLbLnygsL
— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2021
Michael Porter Jr. was back to the court after a while. The young forward had 7 points in 20 minutes, shooting 3-for-7, getting six boards.
“It felt good to be back out there,” Porter said. “Not trying to force anything and mesh with the team. Get my feet back under me and it was good to get a win.”
The Nuggets were pretty bad from three-point territory, making just six of their 26 shots. On the other side, the Suns were 17-for-44, but that didn’t help them reach the victory.
What made a big difference, is Denver’s domination in the paint. Jokic and the rest of the visiting team managed to drop 80 points from under the basket, while on the other side, the Suns had just 48.
This is the first of back-to-back matches between the Suns and the Nuggets. The next one takes place already tonight at the same venue. After that, the Nuggets have three more stops on their tour before coming back to Colorado. The first one is in Dallas, after that in Miami, and finally in San Antonio.
The Suns will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday and the Golden State Warriors one night after that. Following that, Booker and the boys visit Dallas for back-to-back games with Mavs and then meet the Pelicans in New Orleans.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.