With the Suns putting all of their new young players out on display for a national audience on ESPN, they were bound to play well. It also helped the the Nuggets didn't have two of their best wing players in Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala.
Michael Beasley certainly took advantage of that, starting the game making 4 of his first 5 shots, one from three point land for 9 points. That helped spark a 9-0 run midway through the first period. Missed opportunities from the free throw line (2/5 in the 1st) and poor transition defense (the Nuggets had 4 fast break points in the 1st) led the Nuggets to make a slight run as the first quarter ended 24-21 with Phoenix in the lead. The Suns led by 10 points at one juncture, but allowed the Nuggets to score 16 points in the paint, helping them in their comeback endeavors.
The Nuggets began the second quarter on a 4-0 run on two consecutive layups, causing another lead change and an Alvin Gentry timeout. The hemorrhaging stopped as the Suns finally scored on a jumpshot from Luke Zeller. After over 4 minutes of play, the Suns managed to end the 15-0 run by Denver. Easy layups and bad transition defense were the Suns' major downfall.
Beasley re-entered the game and scored 7 straight points, forcing the 8th lead change of the game and giving the Suns a 41-39 lead with just over 4 minutes to go in the first half. The Suns ended the half 7/17 from the 3 point line and winning the turnover margin, 6 to 14. Michael Beasley led all scorers with 18 points on 8/11 shooting.
The third quarter began with a 5-0 Suns run, but fastbreak points and poor turnovers got in Phoenix's way once again. After a pair of missed free throws from Marcin Gortat, the Suns found themselves at a paltry 5/12 from the free throw line. However, the Suns did start to hit the paint more and helped themselves to a 67-57 lead despite shooting just 39% 3 quarters of the way through the game. Phoenix outscored Denver 16-11 in the third, holding the Nuggets to 4-22 from the field.
With 10 and 1/2 minutes to go in the fourth, Michael Beasley snatched his 10th rebound of the game, giving him a double-double. He was the best player on the court all night, even if his shot selection was pedestrian at times. He is a prolific scorer and it was probably refreshing for the Suns to see him go off the way he did. They know who their go-to-guy will be this season for scoring purposes.
The Suns would end the game with a victory, but were outscored in the paint heavily by a margin of 26-52 and shooting under 50% from the free throw line.
The Suns finish the preseason with a 4-3 record ready to host the Golden State Warriors next Wednesday night.