The Denver Nuggets (57-25) already locked up home-court advantage before Wednesday night’s 118-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns. With that victory they locked up the No. 3 seed and ended the season 38-3 at home.
Denver forward Wilson Chandler scored 13 of his 21 points in the game’s first six minutes, giving the Nuggets a 35-20 lead by the end of the first quarter. He and first year Nugget, Andre Iguodala, both filled the stat sheets for the Nuggets in the first half. Chandler finished the first two quarters with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. Iggy chipped in 13 points of his own, with five boards and three dimes.
Iguodola’s sweetest play came with less than 40 seconds left in the first half. Anthony Randolph collected a long rebound and initiated the break, bringing the ball across half court. He found Iguodala, who was slightly trailing to his left. Iggy gathered himself, took a quick between-the-leg dribble from left-to-right then flipped the ball behind his back to a cutting Timofey Mozgov, who was running the left lane. Mozgov finished easily with the slam.
Javale McGee was issued a Flagrant 1 for shoving Suns forward Luis Scola with 3:46 left in the 3rd quarter and his Nuggets leading 83-57. Scola popped McGee on a block out and McGee didn’t take lightly to it. McGee retaliated by shoving Scola in the back. At first it appeared that McGee was being thrown out of the game but further review showed the foul wasn’t worthy of a rejection.
The Suns managed to outscore the Nuggets main rotation players 29-25 in the 3rd quarter but the deficit attained in the first half was too much overcome. The 4th quarter was mostly played as garbage time. Jordan Hamilton took full advantage, throwing down a thunderous one handed slam off of a Anthony-Randolph-lead fast break.
Phoenix will enter the off-season with a lot of question marks. One potential bright spot, showcased in Wednesday’s game, was the play of Kendall Marshall. With starting point guard Goran Dragic sidelined with an ankle injury, Marshall started for the second time of his career, dishing out 14 assists in the last regular season game. He still needs to work on his jumper (set shot, or whatever you call it) and he needs to learn how to defend NBA points guards, but his ability to set and run an offense is encouraging.
The Nuggets will face either the Golden State Warriors or the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.
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