Revenge is a sweet thing, especially when you begin the season with some. After losing four straight games to the Suns to close last season, the Nuggets used a big time second half effort to capture a 110-98 victory tonight in Phoenix.
Behind a big time performance from reigning MVP Nikola Jokic — who scored 27 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field along with 13 rebounds — the Nuggets ended up blowing out a Suns team that were in control of the game after two quarters.
We'll never get enough of Joker coast to coasts pic.twitter.com/3AnuLN7UIz— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) October 21, 2021
It was a pretty solid first quarter for the Nuggets as they outscored Phoenix 26-20 behind an 11-0 run through the midway point of the period. Things quickly started to change in the second quarter as the Nuggets second unit did not have their best showing and the Suns took advantage of it.
The biggest surprise with the bench unit was Bones Hyland was not apart of it, which was a bit of a shock considering how well he played in the preseason. Instead, Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers were the two guards Denver deployed off the bench alongside JaMychal Green, Jeff Green, and PJ Dozier.
Phoenix outscored the Nuggets 38-25 in the second quarter as Denver’s bench unit was never able to get it going and the starting unit followed suit. Luckily for the Nuggets they were only down 58-51 going into halftime after a big three by Jokic provided Denver with a little momentum going into the locker room.
We love JOK3R buzzer-beaters, don't we? pic.twitter.com/jsnHSXft1c— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) October 21, 2021
Jokic put together an efficient first half with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from three to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Will Barton was the Nuggets only other player in double figures after the first half with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
Denver turned the tides to start the third quarter and didn't look back as they opened the period on a 23-7 run. Michael Porter Jr. led the Nuggets run with scoring and playmaking as he not only made big time shots, but he was setting his teammates up time after time.
Phoenix made a bit of a run to close the third quarter as Denver ended up outscoring the Suns 34-24 in the period. The Nuggets took a 3-point lead into the fourth quarter and began the fourth quarter with a bench unit that featured Barton staggering with Campazzo, Dozier, and both Green. Rivers ended up being the odd man out and staggering a starter along with the bench unit was definitely the correct move as it paid off in the end.
The game was never really in doubt as the Nuggets won the fourth quarter 25-16 behind solid defense and timely offense. Jokic led the Nuggets in scoring with 27 points, but Denver also had five other players finish in double figures: Barton (20), Porter Jr. (15), Jeff Green (13), Aaron Gordon (12), and PJ Dozier (10).
Gordon is one player who really stood out on both ends of the floor as he scored 12 points on an extremely efficient 5-of-6 shooting from the field, while also hauling in eight rebounds and dished out four assists. The Nuggets will look to build on this performance Friday night in their home opener against the San Antonio Spurs.