Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal make overtime statement in Denver, snap winning streak

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets
Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

Kevin Durant and Bradley combined to shoot 5/5 from the floor and score 13 points in the overtime period, carrying the Suns to a huge road win, 117-107 over the Nuggets in Ball Arena. The loss snaps the Nuggets’ six-game winning streak and drops them to 42-20, a game back of the one seed in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, and they were uncharacteristically sloppy, even Nikola Jokic who turned the ball over eight times. They gave up a huge second-quarter run that saw Grayson Allen go nuclear, he finished the game with 28 points and hit eight three-pointers.

But the worst 4th quarter team in the NBA this season, the Suns couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the period and allowed the Nuggets to come all the way back from down 22 to take the lead with just over 30 seconds to play. 

But Kevin Durant, who was 1/8 in the quarter up to that point, hit an enormous step back three to send the game to overtime. The Suns had scored just 9 fourth-quarter points as a team until that shot.

Suns stars shine brightest

From that point on, Durant and Beal didn’t miss, and the Suns dominated the extra period. It was a rare crunch-time loss for the league’s best team in the clutch. We are so used to seeing the Nuggets out-execute their opponents down the stretch - especially at home.

While that was the case throughout the fourth quarter, the script was flipped in overtime. Still, there is no reason to overreact to this game. The Suns are a good team, with superstar players, and they needed the win more as they’re battling to stay out of the play-in.

Finals preview on horizon

The Nuggets also may have been looking ahead with one eye on Thursday night’s marquee matchup, and potential finals preview with the league-leading Boston Celtics. The Celtics may have been feeling equally ambitious as they squandered a 22-point fourth-quarter lead in Cleveland and saw their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Cavaliers.

So both finals hopefuls will enter Thursday’s showdown fresh off of a disappointing crunch-time loss. That should do nothing to damper what figures to be one of the best and biggest regular season games of 2024.