Suns unravel in 3rd quarter, fall to Nuggets after travel mishap

DENVER — The Phoenix Suns didn’t get to Denver until around 2 p.m. Wednesday because of plane trouble.

Thank Garry Harris for making their trip even more unbearable.

Harris scored 28 of his 36 points in the first half and the Denver Nuggets used a big third quarter to beat the Phoenix Suns 134-111.

Harris tied his career high in points, finishing 14 of 17 from the field. Nikola Jokic added 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to help the Nuggets snap a two-game slide and improve to 13-4 at home this season.

“We try not to make no excuses,” said Phoenix guard Isaiah Canaan, who had 11 points off the bench. “Obviously it was a tough travel day. It’s part of the game and it’s our job. We’ve got to come out and play no matter what the circumstance is.”

Harris hit his first eight shots and finished the opening quarter 9 of 10 from the field. He had 20 points in the first 10:34, including a nifty reverse layup that fooled two defenders. His driving layup late in the quarter put the Nuggets up 34-22.

The Suns responded, though, outscoring Denver 45-27 in the final 13:09 of the half. They shot 16 of 21 from the field in the second and led 67-61 at the break.

“They scored so easy,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “I told our guys at halftime, 76 percent, 41 points, a team that had just played three games in four nights – that is embarrassing. We should all be embarrassed by that. Now let’s go do something about it.”

Denver took over after that, as the Suns hit only 5 of their first 28 shots in the third.

JET LAG

After a 41-point second quarter, the Suns scored only 44 the rest of the way.

“We didn’t execute as well,” Chriss said. “Lacking energy and being at this altitude you need to lock in a little bit more and we didn’t play the way we wanted to play.”

TIP-INS

Chandler (rest) sat out, while Monroe got the start for his first game action since Dec. 21. … Jackson, the Suns’ first-round draft pick, logged 24 minutes after not playing for the first time this season on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Suns play at San Antonio on Friday night.