PHOENIX (AP) Ty Lawson went 5 of 5 on 3-pointers and had 29 points and 10 assists to lead Denver to a 118-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday that clinched a playoff berth for the Nuggets.
The Suns fell a half-game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz played at home against Orlando on Saturday night. Phoenix plays at Utah on Tuesday and holds the tiebreaker over the Jazz.
Steve Nash of the Suns had 13 assists, nine in the first quarter, and passed Oscar Robertson into fifth place on the NBA's career list. The Suns lost Channing Frye to a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Shannon Brown scored 28 points for Phoenix, including a career-best 6 3s on 12 attempts.
The Nuggets beat the Suns for the sixth straight time, three this season.
Denver pulled within a half-game of Dallas for the No. 6 spot in the West. The Mavericks, who hold the tiebreaker over Denver, played at Chicago on Saturday night.
Arron Afflalo scored 19 points and Kenneth Faried had 16 for the Nuggets, who had six players finish in double figures, shot 55 percent from the field and had a 26-2 advantage on fastbreak points.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix.
Denver used a third-period outburst to build a 21-point lead. The Suns cut it to 10 in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.
Nash passed Robertson with his fourth assist, on a 3-pointer by Frye just 4:22 into the game. The two-time MVP had assists on five of Phoenix's first six field goals and finished the first quarter with nine.
After a tight first half, the Nuggets outscored Phoenix 33-14 to start the third quarter, going up 93-72 on Al Harrington's fastbreak dunk with 2:31 left in the period. The Suns, though, scored the final eight points of the quarter to cut it to 93-80 entering the fourth. The closest the Suns got after that was 105-95 on Brown's 3 with 4:42 left. Lawson and Andre Miller followed with layups and Phoenix didn't threaten again.
Lawson scored 11 points in the third quarter, making 4 of 6 shots, including all three 3-point attempts.
The Nuggets led 60-58 after a first half that saw neither team lead by more than six points. Denver shot 59.5 percent in the first half, led by Lawson's 7 for 9 for 16 points. The Suns shot 54 percent in the first half, with Gortat going 6 for 9 for 14 points.
Frye sustained a subluxed right shoulder when he went up for a rebound with 4:33 left in the first half. The Suns' starting power forward, who leads the team with 91 3-pointers, missed nearly two weeks after dislocating the same shoulder late last season.
Notes: Nash, with 9,897 assists, trails only Magic Johnson (10,141), Mark Jackson (10,334), Jason Kidd (11,830 and counting) and John Stockton (15,806). ... The Nuggets won the season series 3-0. ... The Suns' Robin Lopez, ejected for a ''flagrant 2'' foul in the victory over the Clippers on Thursday, drew a technical from referee Rodney Mott with 6:09 left in the first half.
Going to see Nick Lowe at a small bar where they serve Scotch Eggs. Geez.
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"Waitress? On second thought, I WILL take it frozen." RT @dubouchet: Hey you. Do it. You're welcome.
Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nuggets-beat-suns-118-107-000007424--nba.html]Yahoo Sports[/url]
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