Phoenix, AZ – Kosta Koufos scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Corey Brewer came off the bench to donate 20 points as the Denver Nuggets matched a season-high with their ninth straight victory by downing the Phoenix Suns, 108-93, on Monday.
Ty Lawson scored 19 points and dished out six helpers for the Nuggets, who have won 10 of 11 following a mid-season three-game losing skid. Kenneth Faried had 10 points and nine boards and Wilson Chandler poured in 11 points in the victory, which was also Denver's fourth straight on the road.
Wesley Johnson had 18 points and Marcus Morris chipped in 16 for the Suns, who have lost three of their last four.
"They dominated us driving the ball," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter admitted. "They are a good team and we did a good job staying close but they just tightened the screws and pulled away from us."
Denver opened up the second half scoring the first six points to increase its lead to nine just over one minute in. Phoenix stayed within nine points for all of the third quarter, but the Suns couldn't quite take the next step to close the gap.
Phoenix got within five points two times with under seven minutes to play -- both times with Luis Scola. The first, with six-plus minutes remaining and the second with five to play, however, Brewer answered both occurrences with a basket to help Denver keep its distance.
Jared Dudley hit a triple from the corner to bring Phoenix within 72-70 with 3:10 left in the third, but the Nuggets finished the action on an 8-2 run to enter the fourth up, 80-74.
The lead increased as Lawson hit a driving lay-in to make it 92-79 with 6:05 to play and it seemed the Suns had nothing left in the tank. Johnson's deep jumper with under five minutes to play brought the home team within seven, but it didn't get any closer the rest of the contest.
"I think we ran more in the second half," Koufos said. "Our guards did a great job of penetrating the lane and dishing off and we give them credit for that and that's why we're so good this year, because our guards are so fast and they can penetrate."
Phoenix took a 26-25 advantage into the second quarter, while Denver was led by Koufos, who was a one-man wrecking machine, scoring the team's first 13 points.
The contest stayed toe-to-toe in the second quarter, until Michael Beasley put the home team ahead 43-36 with 5:19 remaining. Denver, though, regained the lead with one minute to play on top of closing the quarter on a 17-7 swing to take a 53-50 edge into the break.
Phoenix took the first game in the series on Nov. 12, 110-100 ... The Suns are still 13-3 in the last 16 games played at home versus Denver ... The Nuggets have topped 100 points in 23 of their last 24 games and are 20-6 this season against teams below .500 ... Denver scored 74 points in the paint compared to just 32 for the Phoenix.