The Phoenix Suns look to extend their NBA-best winning streak to 12 games on Sunday, playing host to a Denver Nuggets side out to end a three-game losing skid.
Phoenix won its 11th consecutive game on Friday, 112-104 over Dallas. The victory pulled the Suns six wins away from matching the franchise record of 17 consecutive victories, last reached in the 2006-07 season.
Their current streak is the club’s longest since that 2006-07 campaign.
Reserves gave Phoenix a considerable boost in Friday’s victory with three players scoring in double-figures off the bench: JaVale McGee with 14 points, Cam Johnson with 13 and Cameron Payne with 10.
Contributions off the bench was something Suns coach Monty Williams said he wanted to see, and the group delivered against Dallas.
“I’ve been on them lately about either sustaining or increasing the momentum,” Williams said. “They increased tonight.”
Scoring balance akin to Friday’s effort has been a key to the Suns’ success thus far in the season. Six Phoenix scorers are averaging in double-figures per game, with four putting up between 14.1 and 22.7 points per game: Mikail Bridges (14.1), Chris Paul (14.4), Deandre Ayton (14.9) and Devin Booker (22.7).
Phoenix began its winning streak on Oct. 30 after opening the campaign a disappointing 1-3. The Suns were coming off a surprise run to the NBA Finals, just the franchise’s third all-time and first since 1993.
Along the way to a Western Conference title, Phoenix swept Denver in the conference semifinals. The Nuggets exacted a measure of revenge in the prior meeting between the two this season, a 110-98 decision in the Oct. 20 season opener.
Denver has played just over .500 basketball since that encounter, most recently dropping three straight after having won the previous five.
In their most recent outing, a 114-108 loss at home Friday to Chicago, the Nuggets were without reigning Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic. Jokic sustained a sprained wrist in the first half of a back-to-back, Thursday against Philadelphia.
Denver coach Michael Malone said there is no timeline set for the center’s return to the lineup. Jokic scored 27 points and grabbed 13 points in the season-opening matchup with Phoenix.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing at all, but at the same time, I don’t want to put him out there if he can only play with one hand,” Malone said in his postgame press conference on Friday. “When he’s ready to play, he’ll play. That could be against Phoenix, that could be in a week.”
Denver has also been without Michael Porter Jr. since he sustained a back injury Nov. 6 against Houston. Jamal Murray has yet to play this season while recovering from a torn ACL sustained late last regular season.
Aaron Gordon paced the short-handed Nuggets in Friday’s loss with 28 points and nine rebounds, and Will Barton scored 23 points, but Facundo Campazzo was the only other player in double-figures. He scored 16 points off the bench.
–Field Level Media