NBA Game Summary - Denver at Phoenix
(Saturday, December 20th)
Final Score: Phoenix 108, Denver 101
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Amare Stoudemire had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Steve Nash made a couple key three-pointers down the stretch to help the Phoenix Suns to a 108-101 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Nash finished with 16 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who have won three of four and five of their last seven. Shaquille O'Neal posted 19 points and grabbed nine boards in the win for Phoenix, while Jason Richardson made 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a 19-point night.
Nene had 20 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Nuggets, whose losing streak reached a season-high three games. J.R. Smith scored a team-high 23 points in the loss.
"You put emotion and energy into all these games," Smith said. "Our goal was to not lose two in a row, and we lost two in a row. Then our goal was to not lose three in a row, and we lost three in a row. We just have to go back to the drawing board."
In a contest with 24 lead changes and 20 ties, a Nene dunk provided Denver with a 98-95 edge with a little over five minutes left. But the Suns came back with six consecutive points -- layups from Stoudemire and Grant Hill, and a long jumper from Nash that put Phoenix up 101-98 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
On the other end, Chauncey Billups drilled a three to tie the game before Nash connected on a triple of his own to push the Suns back in front, 104-101.
Billups then missed a jumper, giving the ball back to Phoenix. But the Suns missed a series of shots, and a steal got Denver another possession with about 1 1/2 minutes on the clock.
However, Billups missed another three-point attempt, and Stoudemire collected the rebound. That led to a Nash three with 59 ticks remaining, and a six-point Suns edge.
"I just tried to be aggressive and look for opportunities to help us win the game," Nash said. "I was just fortunate to make some tonight that helped us win."
Each team missed a shot on its next touch, and with 24.5 left Nene fouled O'Neal. The Phoenix big man missed the first, but made the second to give the Suns a three-possession lead, effectively putting the game out of reach for Denver.
The contest was back-and-forth throughout, as the Suns led 29-28 after the first quarter, were tied with the Nuggets at 58 at halftime, and held an 85-82 edge after three quarters of play.
The Suns have won five in a row at home...O'Neal entered the game having missed 4,992 free throws in his career (5,522-for-10,514). His 5-for-8 performance at the line Saturday leaves him five misses short of the 5,000-miss mark...Hill had 11 points for the Suns...Carmelo Anthony went 3-for-13 from the field for the Nuggets, finishing with just 10 points...Billups had 18 points for Denver, while Kenyon Martin added 13 points and eight boards.
12/21 02:07:15 ET