Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/2

Game 1: Friday, December 2nd
Game 2: Tuesday, January 10th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 15th
Game 4: Saturday, March 25th

Nuggets 97

(8-9, 2-6 away)

Suns 102

(9-5, 6-4 home)

Coverage: ALT

7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2005

US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
DEN 27 15 33 2297
PHX 25 34 14 29102

Top Performers

Denver: M. Camby 33 Pts, 20 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

Phoenix: S. Marion 22 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

Anthony scores 22 before aggravating ankle

PHOENIX (AP) -- Reserve Eddie House is known for his instant offense and he provided that again for the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

House sparked a fourth-quarter Phoenix rally with nine straight points in 1:56 and the Suns won their fifth consecutive game, beating the Denver Nuggets 102-97.

"I'm used to coming off the bench," House said. "It's my role, so I accept it. I just try to be ready when I'm called upon."

House was needed and ready in the frantic final period after the Suns had squandered a 17-point halftime lead and fell behind 79-77 with 10:34 left after a 19-foot jump shot by Earl Boykins.

The speedy House then fed Kurt Thomas for an easy layup, and Thomas completed a three-point play by hitting a foul shot, putting Phoenix ahead for good, 80-79.

Then, House went to work on his shot. He hit two jumpers, a 3-pointer and capped a 12-0 run with another jumper, giving Phoenix an 89-77 lead. Following that outburst, he assisted on the Suns' next two baskets, disdaining the opportunity to shoot despite chants of "Eddie!, Eddie!, Eddie!" by the rabid Phoenix fans.

That was enough of a cushion to help the Suns withstand a late burst by Marcus Camby, who scored 14 of the Nuggets' final 18 points. House finished with 12 points.

Shawn Marion led the balanced Suns' offense with 22 points and 11 rebounds, Steve Nash added 21 points and 10 assists, Thomas had a season-high 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Boris Diaw scored 15.

Camby led the Nuggets, who lost their third straight, with a season-high 33 points and 20 rebounds for his eighth consecutive double-double. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after aggravating his left ankle. Andre Miller scored 18 points and had 10 assists.

It was the seventh straight game that Phoenix held an opponent under 100 points and it was the Suns fifth straight home win.

This also was the third time this season that House had scored eight or more points in the fourth quarter.

Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni had no qualms about leaving House in the game in the critical final period.

"This is not the first time he's done that," D'Antoni said, referring to House's rapid-fire scoring. "I have confidence in him."

The Nuggets were without coach George Karl, who was serving the second game of a two-game suspension by the NBA for criticizing officials after Monday night's loss to New Jersey, and guard Voshon Lenard, who was suspended by the team for conduct detrimental to the club. Assistant Scott Brooks filled in for Karl and now is 0-4 this season during the head coach's two suspensions.

Camby hinted that he was upset with the officiating without being specific.

"We're playing hard," he said. "Down 17 at halftime, we hunkered down together and tried to regain the lead going into the fourth quarter. Going down the stretch ... I don't want to get fined. (But) you know what I'm talking about."

The Nuggets tried running with the fast-breaking Suns in the first half but couldn't keep up with Phoenix's frenetic pace and trailed 59-42 at intermission.

Diaw was the key to Phoenix's offense during that span. He hit his first five field goal attempts and scored seven points during an 18-2 run in the opening 5:24 of the second period that catapulted the Suns from a 27-25 deficit to a 43-29 lead.

Overall in the second quarter, the Suns outscored Denver 34-15. By halftime, Phoenix had four players in double figures -- Diaw (13), Thomas and Bell (11 each) and Marion (10), and had 16 fast-break points to Denver's five.

Anthony, returning to the lineup after missing Wednesday's game against New Orleans with a sprained left ankle, scored 13 points in the half, and Camby, who was 5-for-6, had 12.

The Nuggets outscored Phoenix 33-14 in the third and took a 75-73 at the end of the period on Eduardo Najera's two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining.

Anthony, Miller and Camby triggered the Nuggets' comeback, combining for 25 points in the period, as Denver outscored Phoenix 15-2 in the final 4:13.

Game notes

Phoenix center-forward Brian Grant underwent surgery on his right knee Friday and is expected to miss three months. ... The Nuggets' Greg Buckner returned to action after being sidelined Wednesday with inflammation in his left knee. ... The Suns swept their four-game series against Denver last season and lead the Nuggets 46-17 all-time at America West Arena.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 97 102
FGM-FGA 37-86 (.430) 42-93 (.452)
3PM-3PA 2-9 (.222) 8-22 (.364)
FTM-FTA 21-24 (.875) 10-16 (.625)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-44 9-43
Assists 16 29
Turnovers 22 16
Steals 7 8
Blocks 6 7
Fast Break Points 10 21
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 22 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 17

Top Performers

Marcus Camby Camby
Points: 33
Reb: 20
Ast: 2
Stl: 3
Blk: 3
Shawn Marion Marion
Points: 22
Reb: 11
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 3