Suns Secure Crucial 104-07 Win Over Nuggets in Tight Playoff Race

Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, NBA News
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In a pivotal matchup during Wednesday’s NBA action, the Phoenix Suns edged out the defending champion Denver Nuggets with a 104-97 victory at Denver, marking their second win in the city this month.

Kevin Durant led the Suns with an impressive stat line of 30 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks, propelling Phoenix closer to a direct playoff berth by bypassing the play-in games.

“I’m glad we didn’t let that San Antonio game bleed over to the next game,” Durant said about the Suns’ road loss Monday night to a Spurs team without rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama.

Despite leading the Western Conference, the Nuggets felt the absence of starting point guard Jamal Murray due to a sprained left ankle. Nikola Jokic, battling through lower back pain and left hip soreness, contributed 22 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists but couldn’t secure a win for Denver.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Updates

Denver’s loss, just its third in 18 games post-All-Star break, was again at the hands of the Suns, who previously defeated the Nuggets in overtime earlier in the month. Despite Denver’s strong home record and six consecutive wins following their last defeat to Phoenix, the Suns’ precise long-range shooting proved too much for the Nuggets to handle.

“Not once did I think these guys are playing harder than us,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “For most teams, every game is an important game. We’re trying to keep the No. 1 seed. You don’t have to come off a bad loss at San Antonio (like the Suns did) to be in a desperate game.

“So, I think our guys definitely played hard. Could we have played better? Of course. And could we have made more shots? That definitely would have helped the outcome.”

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Updates

The Suns were without Jusuf Nurkic due to a sprained right ankle but saw Bradley Beal return from injury to contribute significantly, including hitting three 3-pointers early in the game. Phoenix’s ability to control the game was highlighted by a 10-0 run in the third quarter, spearheaded by Durant’s scoring prowess.

Suns coach Frank Vogel praised his team’s focus and intensity, underscoring the significance of every remaining game.

“I would say we didn’t have carryover,” Vogel said. “It showed up as focus and intensity. We know what’s at stake. We know how many games we have left. We know what the schedule looks like.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets Updates

Both teams are looking ahead, with the Suns facing Oklahoma City and the Nuggets hosting Minnesota on Friday night.

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