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NBA FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH OT TOTAL --- --- --- --- --- ----- PHOENIX 23 38 16 17 8 102 DENVER 29 18 25 22 13 107 FINAL IN 1ST OT

HIGH SCORERS: PHO - TOM GUGLIOTTA 22, RODNEY ROGERS 21, CLIFF ROBINSON 20 DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 34, ANTONIO MCDYESS 18, GEORGE MCCLOUD 16


Extended Box

PHOENIX (102) AT DENVER (107) - FINAL IN OT

PHOENIX REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

GUGLIOTTA F 47 11-28 0-5 9 10 19 4 3 3 4 22 ROBINSON F 48 6-16 4-4 1 3 4 2 4 1 1 20 LONGLEY C 24 4-8 1-1 1 3 4 4 1 1 2 9 KIDD G 44 3-12 1-2 0 5 5 8 6 1 1 8 MARION G 35 7-17 0-0 5 9 14 3 4 0 2 14 LIVINGSTON 28 4-10 0-0 0 5 5 4 4 1 1 8 ROGERS 35 8-19 1-2 5 2 7 4 4 2 2 21 O MILLER 4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 CHAPMAN DNP - SUSPENDED DAY DNP - FLU HARDAWAY DNP - SUSPENDED WEST DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 265 43-111 7-14 21 37 58 29 28 9 13 102 (.387) (.500) TEAM REBS: 11 TOTAL TO: 13(22 PTS)

DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MCDYESS F 45 7-15 4-6 2 5 7 4 3 0 7 18 POSEY F 20 4-5 1-2 0 2 2 1 2 1 1 9 LAFRENTZ C 31 4-10 1-2 0 8 8 0 3 1 0 10 MERCER G 47 6-17 4-5 0 6 6 4 1 1 1 16 VAN EXEL G 46 12-21 5-7 2 7 9 9 1 0 3 34 ROGERS 12 0-0 0-0 3 5 8 1 0 0 0 0 STITH 6 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 MCCLOUD 33 6-15 2-2 2 7 9 2 2 0 2 16 ALEXANDER 7 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 2 0 1 0 CLARK 8 0-1 0-0 2 0 2 0 2 1 2 0 BOWEN 10 1-3 2-2 2 1 3 1 1 2 0 4 TAYLOR DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 265 40-89 19-26 13 42 55 25 17 6 18 107 (.449) (.731) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 19(15 PTS)

PHOENIX 23 38 16 17 8 - 102 DENVER 29 18 25 22 13 - 107

BLOCKED SHOTS: PHOENIX - ROGERS 2, MARION 2, ROBINSON. DENVER - LAFRENTZ 5, MCDYESS 4, MCCLOUD 3, ROGERS 2, STITH, POSEY. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: PHOENIX 9-22 (.409), GUGLIOTTA 0-1, ROBINSON 4-11, KIDD 1-2, MARION 0-1, LIVINGSTON 0-1, ROGERS 4-6. DENVER 8-18 (.444), POSEY 0-1, LAFRENTZ 1-3, MERCER 0-1, VAN EXEL 5-7, STITH 0-1, MCCLOUD 2-5. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: JACK NIES, BILL SPOONER, KEVIN FEHR. A - 19,099. T - 2:32.


Box Score

PHOENIX (102) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Gugliotta 47 11-28 0-5 9-19 4 3 22 Robinson 48 6-16 4-4 1-4 2 4 20 Longley 24 4-8 1-1 1-4 4 1 9 Kidd 44 3-12 1-2 0-5 8 6 8 Marion 35 7-17 0-0 5-14 3 4 14 Livingston 28 4-10 0-0 0-5 4 4 8 Rogers 35 8-19 1-2 5-7 4 4 21 O Miller 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Chapman DNP - suspended Day DNP - flu Hardaway DNP - suspended West DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 26543-111 7-14 21-58 29 28 102 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.387, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals: 9-22, .409 (Gugliotta 0-1, Robinson 4-11, Kidd 1-2, Marion 0-1, Livingston 0-1, Rogers 4-6). Team rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 5 (Rogers 2, Marion 2, Robinson). Turnovers: 13 (Gugliotta 4, Longley 2, Marion 2, Rogers 2, Kidd, Livingston, Robinson). Steals: 9 (Gugliotta 3, Rogers 2, Kidd, Livingston, Longley, Robinson).

DENVER (107) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 45 7-15 4-6 2-7 4 3 18 Posey 20 4-5 1-2 0-2 1 2 9 Lafrentz 31 4-10 1-2 0-8 0 3 10 Mercer 47 6-17 4-5 0-6 4 1 16 Van Exel 46 12-21 5-7 2-9 9 1 34 Rogers 12 0-0 0-0 3-8 1 0 0 Stith 6 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Mccloud 33 6-15 2-2 2-9 2 2 16 Alexander 7 0-0 0-0 0-1 2 2 0 Clark 8 0-1 0-0 2-2 0 2 0 Bowen 10 1-3 2-2 2-3 1 1 4 Taylor DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 265 40-89 19-26 13-55 25 17 107 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.449, FT-.731. 3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (Posey 0-1, Lafrentz 1-3, Mercer 0-1, Van Exel 5-7, Stith 0-1, Mccloud 2-5). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 16 (Lafrentz 5, Mcdyess 4, Mccloud 3, Rogers 2, Stith, Posey). Turnovers: 19 (Mcdyess 7, Van Exel 3, Clark 2, Mccloud 2, Alexander, Mercer, Posey, Stith). Steals: 6 (Bowen 2, Clark, Lafrentz, Mercer, Posey). _________________________________________________ Phoenix 23 38 16 17 8 - 102 Denver 29 18 25 22 13 - 107 _________________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 19,099. T: 2:32. Officials: Jack Nies, Bill Spooner, Kevin Fehr.


Game Story

DENVER (Ticker) -- Using an awesome closing spurt, the Denver Nuggets opened the Pepsi Center with a victory.

Nick Van Exel's three-point play triggered an 11-0 burst over the final 2:15 of overtime that gave the Nuggets a 107-102 win over the shorthanded Phoenix Suns in the season opener for both teams.

It was the first game for the Nuggets in the Pepsi Center, a $160 million facility that has been hosting Colorado Avalanche NHL games for a month but staged its first NBA regular-season game tonight. The sellout crowd of 19,099 at "The Can" and new coach Dan Issel had no shortage of excitement as the Nuggets twice averted certain defeat.

"All I'm going to say about Nick is that I'm going to sink or swim with him," said Issel, who has returned as coach after a 3 1/2-season hiatus. "If you all knew how badly he wants to be successful, you'd hook your wagon to him as well."

"Dan's got a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot with him," Van Exel said.

Van Exel scored 34 points, including the last five in regulation as the Nuggets erased a 94-89 deficit in the final 99 seconds. After consecutive 3-pointers by Cliff Robinson and Rodney Rogers gave the Suns a 102-96 lead with 2:25 to go in overtime, Van Exel's drive and free throw started the closing run.

"We had a six-point lead and let Van Exel drive to the basket with no one around him and then we fouled him for a three-point play," Suns coach Danny Ainge said. "Nick Van Exel killed us tonight."

Forward Raef LaFrentz, returning from a torn ACL that cut short a promising rookie season, hit a jumper and the teams exchanged possessions before George McCloud -- who left the Suns to sign as a free agent with the Nuggets -- buried a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 104-102 lead with 48 seconds left.

After Denver won a jump ball, Van Exel made 1-of-2 free throws with 21 seconds to go. Phoenix rookie Shawn Marion threw away the ensuing inbounds pass and LaFrentz and Ron Mercer added free throws to seal it.

"There were several game-changing type of plays and the ball didn't go our way," Ainge said.

Van Exel made 12-of-21 shots, including 5-of-7 3-pointers. He added nine points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who are over .500 for the first time since January 16, 1995, the day after Issel ended his first stint as coach. Antonio McDyess scored 18 points and McCloud and Mercer added 16 each for Denver.

Tom Gugliotta had 22 points and 19 rebounds and Marion had 14 and 14 for the Suns, who shot under 39 percent (43-of-111) from the field. Rogers scored 21 points and Robinson added 20.

Phoenix was without guards Penny Hardaway and Rex Chapman, who were suspended for their part in a fight with Miami guard Rex Walters in the preseason. Hardaway was acquired from Orlando in an offseason sign-and-trade deal.

A basket by Rogers gave Phoenix a 90-80 lead with 5:17 left in the fourth quarter and the Suns still held a 94-89 lead when Gugliotta went to the line for two free throws with 1:39 to go.

But Gugliotta missed both and Van Exel drove for a transition layup before catching the defense sleeping with his 3-pointer that tied it with 45 seconds left. Both teams missed shots and went to overtime.

"Somebody had to be the sparkplug tonight and I was just it," Van Exel said. "The crowd was great with their support and we appreciate that."

"This was a tough one to swallow," Gugliotta said. "I had free throws to seal it, I just didn't make them."

Gugliotta scored 10 points and Rogers eight in a 38-point second quarter as the Suns roared to a 61-47 halftime lead. Van Exel kept the Nuggets within striking distance with 14 points.

Denver snapped a nine-game losing streak against Phoenix the only way it knows how -- by winning in overtime. The Nuggets are 6-1 all-time against the Suns in overtime games.

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