PHOENIX (AP) — Cam Johnson scored a career-high 22 points, Deandre Ayton added 21 and the fast-starting Phoenix Suns ran their winning streak to 12, routing the short-handed Denver Nuggets 126-97 on Sunday night.
The Suns scored 48 points in the first quarter for a 20-point lead, shooting 17 of 22 (77.3%) from the field, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range.
Johnson, Devin Booker and Jae Crowder all hit two 3-pointers during the early run. The Suns haven’t lost since Oct. 27 against Sacramento when Harrison Barnes made a 3-pointer at the buzzer. It’s the longest winning streak for the franchise since they won 17 straight during the 2006-07 season.
Denver star forward Nikola Jokic missed his second straight game with a sprained right wrist. The Nuggets have lost four straight to fall to 9-8. with a 126-97 victory over the short-handed Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
Denver is one of the few teams that has beaten the Suns this season — winning the opener 110-98 — but that's when the Nuggets had a healthy Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. (low back pain).
This was much different. The Nuggets became even more short-handed late in the third quarter when Aaron Gordon was ejected after two quick technicals for arguing with an official after he was called for an offensive foul. Jeff Green led the Nuggets with 19 points. Gordon had 16.
The Suns took a 100-78 lead into the fourth.
Denver recovered from the lopsided first quarter to cut Phoenix's advantage to 73-60 by halftime. Ayton led the Suns with 18 points while Crowder and Booker each had 11. Gordon led the Nuggets with 16 points before the break.
GOOD AGAINST GOOD
The Suns have a 6-0 record against teams that have been above .500 this season. They're 13-3 overall.
Nuggets: Jokic was listed as probable on the injury report but still didn't play. ... The Nuggets were also missing F Zeke Nnaji (right ankle sprain). G Bones Hyland appeared to injure an ankle during the first quarter. He tried to play through the pain for a possession but eventually had to leave the game.
Suns: F/C Frank Kaminsky missed his third straight game and the team announced he's out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his right knee. Kaminsky is averaging 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and scored a career-high 31 points this season. ... F Abdel Nader (right knee injury) also didn't play. ... The 48 points were the second-most in franchise history in the first quarter. They scored 50 against the Nuggets in the first quarter during a game in 1990.
Nuggets: At Portland on Tuesday night. Denver's play eight of the next nine games on the road.
Suns: At San Antonio on Monday night.
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David Brandt, The Associated Press