In the middle of the day, it was announced that all five starters were questionable and trending toward not playing for the Denver Nuggets in their game against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. Fast forward to later that night, and the Nuggets were officially resting all five of their starters. Meanwhile, the Suns had their entire roster available to them. There was a strong belief that this game was going to be over by halftime. After the first quarter, it was clear that someone forgot to tell the rest of the Nuggets’ roster that they weren’t supposed to contend for a win.

Denver was trailing 25-27 at the end of the first quarter, and they were going blow for blow with Phoenix in the first period. Despite the star power on the side of the Suns, Denver’s second unit didn’t plan on going down without a fight, and they were getting contributions from everyone. As the first half wore on, it continued to be a big team-effort type of game. While the Suns had the star power advantage, their lack of depth was being exploited by the Nuggets. Denver was trailing 56-55 at the half, and they had officially put the Suns on upset watch at the half.

Coming out of the half, Denver and the Suns were trading runs back and forth throughout the period with neither team wanting to give up any ground to the other side. Devin Booker and Kevin Durant were really starting to cook on the offensive end, and it was going to be an interesting finish to the game for Denver. While the Suns had three different guys that could function as their closer, the Nuggets really didn’t have that guy. It was ultimately going to be whatever team got hot at the right time.

In the fourth period, it looked as though the Nuggets were finally running out of gas. Phoenix, specifically Chris Paul, was cooking, and they were looking to put this one away at home to continue building some momentum ahead of the playoffs. Paul had seven 3-pointers on 11 attempts, and their lead had grown to as many as nine. Denver was able to score a couple of late buckets, but their comeback came up short in this one where they lost 119-115 on the road against one of the most star-studded teams in the NBA without any of their starters.

Stat Leaders

Points: Bruce Brown – 31

Assists: Ish Smith & Reggie Jackson – 6

Rebounds: DeAndre Jordan -11

Player of the Game: Bruce Brown – 31 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds, 11-of-18 field goal, 0-of-1 3-point, 9-of-9 free throw