DEN
PHO

No Text

Oubre, Ayton lead Suns past West-leading Nuggets 102-93

PHOENIX (AP) The Denver Nuggets have the best record in the Western Conference; the Phoenix Suns have the worst.

On top of that, the Suns were without scoring leader Devin Booker.

But the mismatch that was supposed to happen Saturday night never did. Quite the opposite, as the Suns took the lead in the first quarter and never faltered in a 102-93 victory.

''That team outplayed us tonight,'' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. ''They played harder than us tonight, and it was apparent throughout the game.''

Kelly Oubre Jr. matched his career high with 26 points and tied his career best with 11 rebounds for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton added 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who have won two of three with Booker sidelined with back spasms.

''We were the aggressors today,'' Ayton said. ''That's the main part of it.''

Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets. Malik Beasley scored 20 points.

''I think we just thought it was going to be easy,'' Jokic said. ''...I think we played their record, not their personnel. Those guys are playing hard right now.''

Denver fell to just a half-game ahead of Golden State for best record in the West.

It might have been Phoenix's best defensive effort of the season.

''What impressed me the most is just how long we did it,'' the Suns' Josh Jackson said. ''We did it for literally the whole game. Like, I can't remember one point in time when I looked up and I felt like we were playing bad defense.''

Coach Igor Kokoskov said it's one thing to have a good game plan, and another to execute it.

''From the game plan, to the film, to the court, there's a long, long way,'' he said. ''Players play the game and win a game, so that's what it is. We showed up and played well.''

The Suns took the lead for good late in the first quarter and were up by as many as 16 in the second and 18 in the third. Denver never got closer than seven points in the fourth quarter.

Troy Daniels and Oubre sank 3s in a 10-0 Phoenix run late in the first quarter to put the Suns up for good 30-20. The run reached 19-6 when Elie Okobo's two free throws made it 39-26 with 9:38 left in the half. Oubre's 3-pointer with 3:55 lead left gave Phoenix its biggest lead of the half, 55-39, and the Suns led at the break 60-47.

Phoenix took its biggest lead at 68-50 early in the third quarter before Denver rallied to get to single digits. Jokic made one of two free throws to cut it to 74-66 with 2:57 left in the third but Oubre banked in a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer to put the Suns up 81-69 entering the fourth.

Okobo opened the final quarter with a 20-footer and T.J. Warren's 3-pointer put the Suns ahead 91-76 with 7:13 to play.

A 9-0 run, capped by Jamal Murray's 3-pointer, cut the Phoenix lead to 93-86 with 4:24 left. But Richaun Holmes made a short jumper in the lane and De'Anthony Melton sank two from the foul line to boost it to 97-86 with 3:11 remaining. The Nuggets never got closer than eight after that.

Denver shot 39 percent and committed 17 turnovers, resulting in 26 Suns points.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Will Barton, out since Oct. 20 after undergoing hip and core muscle surgery, played 16 minutes, scoring six points on 2-of-10 shooting. ... Gary Harris missed a third straight game with left hamstring tightness. ... Murray shot 4 of 17.

Suns: Phoenix is 3-10 without Booker this season. ... Jamal Crawford missed the game for personal reasons. ... Ayton had his 26th double-double and 10th in the last 15 games.

OUBRE'S ROLLING

Oubre, who also scored 26 in the Suns' win over Sacramento on Tuesday night, came to Phoenix last month in the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to Washington. He's made a quick impact with his energy, quickness and scoring, and quickly became a fan favorite.

''I'm just trying to get better as the team gets better,'' he said. ''I'm still trying to get acclimated within the system. But obviously I'm a player, too. I'm a really good player and I just try to go out there and play within the system.''

UP NEXT

Nuggets: host Portland on Sunday

Suns: at Indiana on Tuesday.

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
N. Jokic
15 C
D. Ayton
22 C
31.0 Min. Per Game 31.0
16.5 Pts. Per Game 16.5
2.2 Ast. Per Game 2.2
10.6 Reb. Per Game 10.6
50.1 Field Goal % 59.7
49.8 Three Point % 60.0
84.1 Free Throw % 77.8
  DEN team rebound 0:09
  Josh Jackson missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:11
  Defensive rebound by Josh Jackson 0:35
  Full timeout called 0:40
+ 1 Kelly Oubre Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:40
  PHO team rebound 0:40
  Kelly Oubre Jr. missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:40
  Personal foul on Torrey Craig 0:40
+ 1 Monte Morris made free throw 0:51
  Shooting foul on De'Anthony Melton 0:51
+ 2 Monte Morris made layup 0:51
Team Stats
Points 93 102
Field Goals 34-88 (38.6%) 38-92 (41.3%)
3-Pointers 10-31 (32.3%) 8-26 (30.8%)
Free Throws 15-22 (68.2%) 18-25 (72.0%)
Total Rebounds 65 57
Offensive 13 14
Defensive 37 35
Team 15 8
Assists 25 29
Steals 7 11
Blocks 6 9
Turnovers 15 9
Fouls 19 19
Technicals 0 1
23 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST
26 PTS, 11 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Nuggets 28-13 2324222493
home team logo Suns 11-33 31292121102
Team Stats
away team logo Nuggets 28-13 109.1 PPG 47.7 RPG 24.0 APG
home team logo Suns 11-33 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
N. Jokic C 20.1 PPG 10.8 RPG 7.3 APG 51.1 FG%
K. Oubre Jr. SF 16.9 PPG 4.9 RPG 1.6 APG 45.3 FG%
Top Scorers
N. Jokic C 23 PTS 10 REB 4 AST
K. Oubre Jr. SF 26 PTS 11 REB 3 AST
38.6 FG% 41.3
32.3 3PT FG% 30.8
68.2 FT% 72.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
N. Jokic 23 10 4 8/15 1/4 6/7 0 33 0 1 2 1 9 +8 40
M. Beasley 21 1 1 8/14 5/9 0/0 2 40 0 0 2 0 1 +2 22
J. Murray 12 9 5 4/17 2/6 2/3 2 33 3 0 4 3 6 +3 30
P. Millsap 10 11 2 4/12 0/1 2/5 1 31 2 1 2 4 7 +10 26
T. Craig 2 5 2 1/3 0/2 0/0 5 24 1 1 3 1 4 -3 10
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
N. Jokic 23 10 4 8/15 1/4 6/7 0 33 0 1 2 1 9 +8 40
M. Beasley 21 1 1 8/14 5/9 0/0 2 40 0 0 2 0 1 +2 22
J. Murray 12 9 5 4/17 2/6 2/3 2 33 3 0 4 3 6 +3 30
P. Millsap 10 11 2 4/12 0/1 2/5 1 31 2 1 2 4 7 +10 26
T. Craig 2 5 2 1/3 0/2 0/0 5 24 1 1 3 1 4 -3 10
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
M. Morris 12 4 5 5/11 1/4 1/1 2 29 1 0 1 1 3 -12 26
W. Barton 6 5 3 2/10 1/3 1/2 2 15 0 0 1 1 4 -16 16
M. Plumlee 6 4 3 2/4 0/0 2/2 4 16 0 3 0 2 2 -20 19
J. Hernangomez 1 1 0 0/2 0/2 1/2 1 14 0 0 0 0 1 -15 2
B. Goodwin 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
I. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Harris - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Lyles - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Welsh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Lydon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Vanderbilt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Porter Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 93 50 25 34/88 10/31 15/22 19 236 7 6 15 13 37 -45 191
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Ayton 22 13 0 9/18 0/0 4/6 2 29 0 3 0 4 9 +10 38
J. Jackson 15 4 5 6/18 1/7 2/2 3 31 1 1 2 2 2 -6 29
T. Warren 9 4 3 4/12 1/4 0/0 2 35 2 1 0 1 3 -5 22
M. Bridges 5 3 2 2/4 1/1 0/0 2 23 1 1 0 0 3 +7 14
D. Melton 2 3 10 0/7 0/3 2/2 4 32 4 1 2 1 2 -6 28
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Ayton 22 13 0 9/18 0/0 4/6 2 29 0 3 0 4 9 +10 38
J. Jackson 15 4 5 6/18 1/7 2/2 3 31 1 1 2 2 2 -6 29
T. Warren 9 4 3 4/12 1/4 0/0 2 35 2 1 0 1 3 -5 22
M. Bridges 5 3 2 2/4 1/1 0/0 2 23 1 1 0 0 3 +7 14
D. Melton 2 3 10 0/7 0/3 2/2 4 32 4 1 2 1 2 -6 28
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
K. Oubre Jr. 26 11 3 9/17 4/7 4/6 1 29 2 1 3 3 8 +9 43
R. Holmes 14 7 1 6/9 0/0 2/3 3 18 0 0 0 2 5 -1 23
E. Okobo 5 3 5 1/3 0/0 3/4 0 15 1 1 1 0 3 +15 19
T. Daniels 3 1 0 1/3 1/3 0/0 1 15 0 0 0 1 0 +8 4
Q. Acy 1 0 0 0/1 0/1 1/2 1 8 0 0 1 0 0 +14 0
R. Anderson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Crawford - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. King - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Booker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Bender - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Evans - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 102 49 29 38/92 8/26 18/25 19 235 11 9 9 14 35 +45 220