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NBA -- After a slow start, Nuggets looking golden again

By Ricardo Carbajal
Mon, 25 Jan 2021

PHOENIX -- A sluggish start to the 2020-21 season saw the Nuggets drop to an uncharacteristic 1-4 record.

They looked disjointed and out of sorts and didn't appear like the same team that reached the Western Conference Finals just a season ago when they fell to the eventual champions the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

But beginning last January 3 the Nuggets flexed their vaunted might once again, sending a strong message to the rest of the NBA. They've won eight of their least 11 games including the last three.

In yet their most impressive string of victories thus far, the Nuggets went on the road to Phoenix this past weekend and scored impressive back-to-back wins over the host Suns at the PHX Arena.

The Suns hosted back-to-back games against the Denver Nuggets this past weekend. Both contests were thrlling encounters that went into overtimes, each won by the Nuggets. Unfortunately. because of the ongoing pandemic, no fans were allowed at the PHX Arena. But a limited number of mediamen were credentialed to cover the game on-site.

Both conquests were back-and-forth battles that required overtime to decide.

After barely eking out a 130-126 double-overtime squeaker on Saturday, Denver pulled another magic trick on Sunday, this time a 120-112 single overtime cliffhanger.

All-Star center Nikola Jokic, arguably the league's best passing big, led the second invasion with 29 points and 22 rebounds while JaMychal Green and Michael Porter Jr. combined for 30 points as the Nuggets soared to 9-7 record, fifth place in the West and ninth in the league overall.

Despite logging a heavy 42 minutes where he also recorded six assists and a steal, Nokic told reporters he was "feeling good." Jokic logged 40 minutes in the double-overtime affair the night before.

While Jokic carried much of the heavy lifting, it was the heroics of fellow All-Star Jamal Murray that carried the day for Denver.

With the Nuggets down 98-95 with 12 seconds left in regulation, Murray nailed a tough, contested 3 to force the extra session.

The Nuggets then took advantage of their new lease on life by outscoring Phoenix, 22-14, the rest of the way.

Asked what adjustments he made to somehow pocket the come-from-behind gem, Nuggets head coach Micheal Malone credited his team's effort.

"We didn't change what we were doing in the second half. We just did it a hell of a lot better, with more intensity, with more discipline and for longer stretches," the 49-year old Malone told reporters.

The Suns, meanwhile, were led by Chris Paul and Jae Crowder who each had 21 points with Paul adding 13 dimes. DeAndre Ayton tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds but the Suns made only 41 of 102 field goals including 16 of 53 from three-point distance.

The Suns missed the services of All-Star guard Devin Booker due to injury and dropped to an 8-7 record for seventh place in the Western Conference. (RC)

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ricardo Carbajal.

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