With Carmelo Anthony playing only two minutes and then leaving the arena at halftime due to the flu, J.R. Smith took over the game and led the Denver Nuggets to a 138-133 victory over the Phoenix Suns in the Pepsi Center. Smith finished with 30 points, but it was the way he put up the points that is most impressive. He went 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, and Chauncey Billups was 4-of-6 shooting treys. As a team, the Nuggets shot 53.3 percent. As Benjamin Hochman tweeted during the game, it was as if we were watching a live version of NBA Jam.
The Phoenix Suns put up a final charge in the fourth quarter, but their 44 points then were just a bit too few to overcome the Nuggets. Steve Nash missed a critical three-point shot with 17 seconds left that would have tied the game. Jason Richardson put up 39 points and 10 rebounds. The Suns' bench scored 48 points.
The Nuggets' bench was key to this victory. Besides Smith's 30 points, Gary Forbes and Ty Lawson each added 15 points. Chris Andersen scored three and Al Harrington put up seven points to complete the bench's 70 points. Chauncey Billups returned to the starting lineup and had 25 points and eight assists. Nene added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Power forward Shelden Williams broke out for 14 points and seven rebounds.
The Denver Nuggets improved to 10-6 and will host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 7:00 p.m MT.