It was a game of highs and lows for the Denver Nuggets against the Phoenix Suns. Denver got a lead early, then gave up a huge run in the second quarter to fall behind by as much as twenty-two points before fighting all the way back to force overtime. Unfortunately they, didn’t have enough to complete the comeback and Kevin Durant led Phoenix to a fifty-three minute win with Grayson Allen also having a big night. Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. all topped twenty points but it wasn’t enough. The Suns come in to Denver and get a big win 117-107.

The Nuggets got out early with some good defense but Allen knocked down a pair of threes to prevent Denver from getting a lead. It went back and forth from there. Murray knocked down mid-range fadeaways but the Suns were hitting threes. Porter continued right where he left on in the last game and knocked down a pair of shots as well. Unfortunately, Denver couldn’t get any type of lead though because they kept committing untimely errors, usually in the form of a turnover. Both teams’ offenses cooled off a bit, save for Allen, as the quarter started to wind down. Phoenix got in front with Denver’s bench in but the Nuggets had a response. Jokic hit a ridiculous Sombor Shuffle at the buzzer and after one Denver led 32-28.

Jokic started the second quarter on the bench and Denver struggled to score but they had just enough hustle and drew enough fouls to stay in front early. Murray and Porter staggered with the reserves and hit a couple buckets to keep the offense afloat after that but the Suns were having success as well. With just over seven minutes to go in the quarter Jokic stepped back on to the court. In a reverse of normal fortunes that actually turned the tides in Phoenix’s favor. Durant got hot and led the Suns on an 11-0 run forcing Michael Malone to take a timeout. The Suns defense was locked in and they built the first real lead of the game. Denver went over five minutes without a single field goal and Malone was again calling a timeout with the run up to 19-1. Aaron Gordon finally hit a mid range jumper with under two minutes to go to end a six minute plus field goal drought. Allen continued to be unconscious from deep for Phoenix and they finished a dominant quarter leading 65-50.

The second half opened with yet another Allen three and the Suns picked up right where they left off in the second quarter. The lead was quickly up to twenty with Allen and Durant continuing to kill Denver. Jokic was struggling mightily but Murray and Porter were still fighting, trying to keep Denver within striking distance. Phoenix finally started to cool off a bit and the Nuggets chipped away at the lead but they just couldn’t get enough shots to go to make a big run. Still they kept pushing, Jokic finally was getting himself going and got Jusuf Nurkic in deep foul trouble by drawing his fifth foul with just over three minutes to go in the quarter. Joker knocked down a three to get the lead back into single digits and heading into the fourth Denver trailed 90-81.

Without Jokic the Denver offense sputtered to open the fourth but they didn’t let Phoenix grow the lead. Peyton Watson decided to go full Swatson mode to make sure it stayed a singe digit lead. After he had a huge block on Allen, Porter hit a three to shrink the lead to six and force a Phoenix timeout. After that the Nuggets had a number of opportunities to cut into the lead but kept missing three pointers. Luckily for Denver, Phoenix also couldn’t buy a shot so the lead stayed stuck at two possessions. Denver fell in love with the three point shot too much, they were 1-10 before KCP finally hit a corner three to get the Nuggets back within six with just over three minutes to go. The Suns stayed cold from the field and the Nuggets finally put together a run. Another KCP three put them in front by one with a minute and a half to go. They got up three but Durant buried an ice cold triple to tie the game and give the Nuggets the final possession. They had it side out with four seconds to go. Jokic got a decent look but he got front iron and the game went to overtime at 102 all.

Phoenix got the first five points of the extra period with Durant swishing another three. Denver couldn’t get anything to fall and the Suns built a lead. When Bradley Beal hit a layup to put Phoenix up eight with two minutes to go the Nuggets took a timeout and were in danger of letting the game get away. KD ended up being the guy with the last gasp in him. With Denver down seven he buried the dagger three with under a minute to go and that was it. Denver loses 117-107

Best Matchup: Kevin Durant vs Everyone

Mar 5, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) faces off across from Denver Nuggets forward Peyton Watson (8) in the second half at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets threw a mix of defenders at KD tonight with Gordon, KCP and Watson getting the majority of the task. Much like the game itself, it was a roller coaster of an experience. At times Durant was unstoppable, rising up and burying jumpers against whoever Denver threw at him. Then in the fourth quarter he flat out couldn’t buy a shot, only to come back in overtime and bury huge shots to get the win. He definitely isn’t a guy who’s putting the ball on the floor and using his length advantage to finish at the rim as a secondary option to his pull up shooting like in his prime, but Durant is still one of the greatest shooters the game has ever seen and he can still win a game on that skill alone.

Too many errors

Mar 5, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) reacts to a foul in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets let Phoenix get a lead and then failed to close out in the fourth quarter largely because of shooting themselves in the foot. They had fourteen turnovers, including several in the second quarter that helped the Suns go on their ridiculous run. Then Denver successfully utilized the simplest strategy on Nurkic, get him to foul out, but then let Drew Eubanks dominate them on the offensive glass while continuously firing three pointers despite only hitting one in their first ten attempts of the fourth quarter. Fact of the matter is Denver had a chance to build a lead and take control of the game in the first half and then had a chance to put the game away in the fourth quarter without it ever coming down to a final shot attempt from Jokic but they couldn’t overcome their own mistakes.

OT cashes The Thing To Bet

Beal took a backseat to shooting three pointers for a large portion of the game thanks to Allen’s red hot deep shooting early. Once Grayson cooled off late though Beal got into the action. It wasn’t until overtime when he hit his second three and cashed in on the over 1.5 threes but it still counts the same. If you took the action then at least it takes the sting off the loss a bit.