Denver Nuggets defeat Phoenix Suns in overtime on Christmas Day
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had another monster triple-double, Aaron Gordon threw down a pivotal dunk that stood up after a review in overtime and the Denver Nuggets rallied for a 128-125 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
Jokic had 41 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists for his 83rd career triple-double. The two-time reigning NBA MVP had a 40-point, 27-rebound, 10-assist outing a week ago.
Phoenix star Devin Booker lasted only 4:20 in his return from a groin injury, scoring two points after getting 58 against New Orleans in his previous start.
Jamal Murray tied it in regulation for Denver on a dunk with 10.7 seconds left. But it was Gordon’s OT dunk that propelled the Nuggets to the victory. At first, he was called for an offensive foul, but a review determined that Landry Shamet was moving, awarding Gordon the basket and a free throw.
Phoenix had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds of OT, only to throw away a pass.
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The Suns, who led by 12 in the third quarter, set up for a winning play in regulation but Mikal Bridges was called for an offensive foul after accidentally running into a Denver player. Bridges atoned by blocking Murray’s shot just before the buzzer.
The Nuggets improved to 2-6 in games held on Christmas. The other win was in 1994 against Seattle.
Shamet came off the bench to score 31 points — matching his career high — on a night the Suns lost Booker again to the groin injury. Booker was just returning to the court after missing the last three games because of groin soreness.
Deandre Ayton added 22 points and 16 rebounds as Phoenix had six players in double figures. Chris Paul had 17 points and 16 assists, but missed five free throws.
Gordon finished with 28 points and Murray 26.
The Nuggets led by 15 points early in the game. Shamet scored 15 points in the second quarter to help Phoenix work its way back into the game.
Gordon wound up 11 of 18 from the field and Jokic 16 of 25. Both extended their streaks to 23 games of shooting .500 or better from the field, which broke the franchise record set by Nene in 2010-11.
This was the first of four meetings between the two teams. The Suns went 2-1 against Denver last season.
Suns: Phoenix guard Cameron Payne (sprained right foot) and forward Cam Johnson (torn meniscus) went through a stepped-up workout Christmas morning. Payne hasn’t played since Dec. 13 and Johnson since Nov. 4. “Right now, we’re excited,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But we also know we have to wait.”
Nuggets: Forward Jeff Green fractured his hand against Portland on Friday. The team said he will be reevaluated in four weeks. … Forward Michael Porter Jr. had seven points on 3 of 11 shooting in his second game back from a heel injury. … Jokic picked up a technical foul in the third quarter after arguing a call.
Suns: At Memphis on Tuesday night.
Nuggets: At Sacramento on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.