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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 21 24 16 21 82 PHOENIX 22 18 30 27 97 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 22, MARK STRICKLAND 10, TWO PLAYERS WITH 9 PHO - CLIFF ROBINSON 20, TOM GUGLIOTTA 19, RODNEY ROGERS 18

HIGH REBOUND: DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 7, GEORGE MCCLOUD 7 PHO - TOM GUGLIOTTA 13, JASON KIDD 9

HIGH ASSISTS: DEN - ROBERT PACK 5, NICK VAN EXEL 4 PHO - JASON KIDD 19, TONY DELK 4

ATT: 18,889


Extended Box

DENVER (82) AT PHOENIX (97)

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

MCDYESS F 24 3-8 3-4 3 4 7 0 2 0 0 9 POSEY F 6 1-2 0-1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 LAFRENTZ C 32 4-11 0-0 1 4 5 1 4 1 2 8 LENARD G 21 0-4 0-0 0 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 VAN EXEL G 36 9-19 2-3 0 3 3 4 2 0 6 22 BOWEN 28 4-8 0-0 2 2 4 2 3 2 0 9 WILLIS 22 2-6 3-4 1 4 5 0 1 3 0 7 MCCLOUD 32 2-9 3-3 2 5 7 2 2 1 1 7 PACK 24 4-10 0-0 0 4 4 5 1 0 3 8 STRICKLAND 12 5-9 0-0 1 1 2 0 3 0 0 10 DAVIS 3 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 CHEANEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 34-86 11-15 10 33 43 16 22 7 12 82 (.395) (.733) TEAM REBS: 8 TOTAL TO: 13(18 PTS)

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

GUGLIOTTA F 30 6-11 7-8 4 9 13 1 3 0 0 19 ROBINSON F 35 8-20 2-2 1 5 6 0 1 3 3 20 TSAKALIDIS C 21 3-7 0-1 1 2 3 0 4 0 0 6 ELIE G 25 1-3 0-0 0 6 6 2 0 1 2 2 KIDD G 39 1-6 5-5 2 7 9 19 1 1 3 7 T DELK 28 4-13 3-4 0 4 4 4 0 0 0 11 ROGERS 34 8-15 1-2 1 4 5 3 2 2 2 18 V DEL NEGRO 19 5-7 2-2 0 3 3 1 1 2 0 12 SANTIAGO 7 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 PERRY 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 DUDLEY DNP - COACH'S DECISION MARION DNP - RIGHT WRIST

TOTALS 240 37-84 20-24 9 40 49 30 13 9 10 97 (.440) (.833) TEAM REBS: 7 TOTAL TO: 10(7 PTS)

DENVER 21 24 16 21 - 82 PHOENIX 22 18 30 27 - 97

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - LAFRENTZ 5, VAN EXEL. PHOENIX - T DELK 2, ROGERS 2, ROBINSON 2, ELIE, GUGLIOTTA, TSAKALIDIS, KIDD, SANTIAGO. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 3-10 (.300), LAFRENTZ 0-2, VAN EXEL 2-4, BOWEN 1-2, MCCLOUD 0-2. PHOENIX 3-11 (.273), ROBINSON 2-5, ELIE 0-1, KIDD 0-1, T DELK 0-2, ROGERS 1-2. TECHNICALS: DENVER - HEAD COACH ISSEL, WILLIS, VAN EXEL. OFFICIALS: RON GARRETSON, NOLAN FINE, BENNIE ADAMS. A - 18,889. T - 1:58.


Box Score

DENVER (82) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 24 3-8 3-4 3-7 0 2 9 Posey 6 1-2 0-1 0-1 1 1 2 Lafrentz 32 4-11 0-0 1-5 1 4 8 Lenard 21 0-4 0-0 0-4 0 2 0 Van Exel 36 9-19 2-3 0-3 4 2 22 Bowen 28 4-8 0-0 2-4 2 3 9 Willis 22 2-6 3-4 1-5 0 1 7 Mccloud 32 2-9 3-3 2-7 2 2 7 Pack 24 4-10 0-0 0-4 5 1 8 Strickland 12 5-9 0-0 1-2 0 3 10 Davis 3 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 0 Cheaney DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 34-86 11-15 10-43 16 22 82 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.395, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals: 3-10, .300 (Lafrentz 0-2, Van Exel 2-4, Bowen 1-2, Mccloud 0-2). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 6 (Lafrentz 5, Van Exel). Turnovers: 13 (Van Exel 6, Pack 3, Lafrentz 2, Mccloud). Steals: 7 (Willis 3, Bowen 2, Lafrentz, Mccloud).

PHOENIX (97) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Gugliotta 30 6-11 7-8 4-13 1 3 19 Robinson 35 8-20 2-2 1-6 0 1 20 Tsakalidis 21 3-7 0-1 1-3 0 4 6 Elie 25 1-3 0-0 0-6 2 0 2 Kidd 39 1-6 5-5 2-9 19 1 7 T Delk 28 4-13 3-4 0-4 4 0 11 Rogers 34 8-15 1-2 1-5 3 2 18 V Del Negro 19 5-7 2-2 0-3 1 1 12 Santiago 7 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2 Perry 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Dudley DNP - coach's decision Marion DNP - right wrist _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-84 20-24 9-49 30 13 97 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.440, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Robinson 2-5, Elie 0-1, Kidd 0-1, T Delk 0-2, Rogers 1-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 11 (T Delk 2, Rogers 2, Robinson 2, Elie, Gugliotta, Tsakalidis, Kidd, Santiago). Turnovers: 10 (Kidd 3, Robinson 3, Elie 2, Rogers 2). Steals: 9 (Robinson 3, Rogers 2, V Del Negro 2, Elie, Kidd). ____________________________________________ Denver 21 24 16 21 - 82 Phoenix 22 18 30 27 - 97 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Denver 3 (Head Coach Issel, 3:58 2nd; Willis, 3:58 2nd; Van Exel, 5:44 3rd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 18,889. T: 1:58. Officials: Ron Garretson, Nolan Fine, Bennie Adams.


Game Story

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The Pheonix Suns found a replacement for their power forward. The Denver Nuggets could not survive without their own.

Tom Gugliotta posted season highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds in his first start as the Suns rolled over the fading Nuggets, 97-82.

Gugliotta started in place of the injured Shawn Marion, the NBA's sixth-leading rebounder who has missed the last three games with a concussion. The Suns had lost their first two without him, but Gugliotta filled Marion's role to perfection.

The 6-10 forward, a former All-Star, played 30 minutes and made 6-of-11 shots from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line.

"It helps psychologically knowing that I was probably going to play significant minutes, but even if I hadn't started I really felt my game was coming along," said Gugliotta, who had missed a handful of games to be at his dying mother's side.

"I'm starting to feel more comfortable and a lot stronger and able to defend myself on the court and be the agressor rather that being passive," he added.

Clifford Robinson scored 20 points and Jason Kidd handed out a season-high 19 assists, which tied his best performance in a Suns uniform.

Rodney Rogers broke out of a mini-slump with 18 points for Phoenix, which has won six straight meetings with Denver and 15 of the last 16.

The Nuggets led, 47-46, with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter when All-Star forward Antonio McDyess left with a partially dislocated left knee. McDyess had injured the knee with 3:58 to go in the second quarter but started the second half and tried to play through the injury before he decided to leave.

"I planted and there was a sharp, sharp pain that just grabbed me it took a while for it to go away," he said. "It was my decision to see how I felt because when I walked it was fine, but when I tried to run and plant and jump, I felt it."

Post-game X-rays were negative but McDyess did not return and the Suns dominated the rest of the game.

"I was really proud of the guys in the second half," Phoenix coach Scott Skiles said. "We came out and really established ourselves. Our defense went up a couple of notches and we got out on the break and of course Jason had some really good plays."

Denver reeled off five straight points after McDyess left, but Rogers hit back-to-back shots that sparked a 7-0 run and gave Phoenix a 53-52 lead with 5:31 to go.

The Suns closed the quarter on an 11-2 run. Tony Delk capped the spurt with a three-point play and Phoenix took a 70-61 lead into the final period.

The Suns shot 54 percent (12-of-24) in the third quarter while Denver managed just 31 percent (7-of-22).

"It's tough when you don't have an inside presence," Denver guard Nick Van Exel said. "That is what (McDyess) brings to us. We lost 'Dice and our defense was void in the second half."

A short jumper by Robinson gave the Suns their first double-digit lead with nine minutes left and Denver never recovered.

Van Exel scored 22 points for Denver, which dropped to 7-22 on the road. The Nuggets (30-31) have lost 13 of their last 17 overall and fell below .500 for the first time since they were 12-13 on December 16.

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