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Afflalo has 20 points, leads Nuggets past Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Michael Redd (22) celebrates a 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, in Denver. Phoenix Suns guard Michael Redd (22) celebrates a 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
February 14, 2012
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DENVER—Arron Afflalo scored 20 points, Ty Lawson had 17 and the Denver Nuggets broke open a close game in the third quarter to beat the short-handed Phoenix Suns 109-92 on Tuesday night.

Chris Andersen had 16 points and seven rebounds and rookie Kenneth Faried had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, who snapped a five-game home losing streak.

Markieff Morris had 21 points, Michael Redd had 20 points and Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who played without starters Steve Nash and Grant Hill.

Nash and Hill sat out to rest and avoid risking injury, Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said before the game.

Without them in the lineup the Suns struggled early but came on strong after halftime.

Denver led 58-51 at halftime but Redd, who got the start for Hill and had 11 points at halftime, led a Phoenix surge after intermission. He hit two 3-pointers and converted a three-point play to tie the game at 62-all with 8:47 left in the third.

The Nuggets quickly grabbed control again with their defense and the scoring of Afflalo. Lawson had two steals, one of which led to a clear-path foul, and Kosta Koufas had two blocked shots as Denver went on a 24-8 run to end the third. Afflalo led the way on offense, scoring 13 points after it was tied, including a 3-pointer and two free throws that made it 86-70 heading into the fourth.

The Nuggets took advantage of the absence of Nash and Hill to jump out to a 10-0 lead. Denver stretched the lead to 33-19 on Rudy Fernandez's 3-pointer late in the first.

The Nuggets quickly increased the advantage to 16 points at the start of the second quarter before Phoenix made a charge behind Redd and Morris. Morris scored 11 of his 13 first-half points in the period and Redd scored seven points -- including a 3-pointer -- in the final 1:51 of the half as the Suns pulled to within five with 19 seconds left before half.

NOTES: Koufas tied a season high with three blocked shots. ... The road team is 2-14 in this series since the start of the 2007-08 season. ... The Suns are in the middle of their first of three back-to-back-to-back games this season.

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