PHOENIX -- Ty Lawson scored 22 of his 29 points during Denver's 49-point second quarter, and the depleted Nuggets overwhelmed the Phoenix Suns 144-106 on Friday night in the preseason finale for both teams.
Denver, which also played Thursday night, rested starters Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Nene -- and was without three other injured players, dressing only the minimum of eight. Then, during the second quarter, the Nuggets lost J.R. Smith with a left quadriceps contusion. Still, they completely outplayed the Suns.
Denver finished its exhibition season 5-3, its seventh winning record in the past eight years. Phoenix wound up 2-6, the same as in 2003, and only its second losing mark in 22 years.
The cat-quick Lawson put on a dazzling exhibition during the second quarter as the Nuggets outran, outhustled and outshot the defenseless Suns. He hit 6-of-7 field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 3-point shots, and all seven of his free throws, including three when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
Lawson's scintillating performance enabled the Nuggets to build a 78-61 halftime lead.
Before Lawson's outburst, Afflalo helped Denver take charge early, scoring 14 points, including its first 10, as the Nuggets rolled to a 31-25 first-quarter lead.
By halftime, Lawson and Afflalo were joined in double figures by Williams, with 15 points, and Carter, with 11. At that time, the white-hot Nuggets were hitting 62.2 percent of their shots (28 for 45). They made 72.7 percent (16 for 22) in the second period.
Denver reeled off the first 10 points of the third period, completing a 13-0 run bridging the second and third quarters, and by the end of the period had increased its lead to 113-85. Forbes and Williams led the way with nine points apiece during the Nuggets' third-quarter, when they continued their remarkable accuracy, connecting on 12-of-17 shots (70.6 percent).
The Nuggets' final field goal percentage was 64.1 (50 for 78).
The Suns open the regular season Tuesday night at Portland, the Nuggets begin Wednesday night at home against Utah. ... Denver was without forward Kenyon Martin (left patella tendon surgery), forward Al Harrington (torn plantia fascia) and center-forward Chris Andersen (right patella tendon surgery), while Phoenix was missing swingman Josh Childress (broken right index finger) and forward Hedo Turkoglu (night off, coach's decision). ... The Suns have won 11 consecutive regular-season home games against Denver, which has not won at Phoenix since April 7, 2004. ... Denver has not had a losing preseason since 2002, when it finished 1-7.
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