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Nuggets 118, Suns 98

The SportsXchange

DENVER - Wilson Chandler scored 21 points, Andre Iguodala had 20, and the Denver Nuggets secured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 118-98 win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Anthony Randolph had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets, who ended the year with a three-game winning streak.

Luis Scola had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns.

Denver knows it will start the playoffs at home, most likely Saturday, against either Golden State or Houston. Both teams played later Wednesday.

The Nuggets finished the season with a 23-game home winning streak and were 38-3 overall at Pepsi Center, a franchise record. Their 57 regular-season wins are also a club record and the most for coach George Karl since 1997-98 when he won 61 with Seattle.

Denver took the drama out of this one early, taking a 14-4 lead at the start and stretching it to 35-20 by the end of the first quarter. The lead grew to 26 at halftime and was as large as 29 in the second half before the reserves finished off the rout.

Seven players scored in double figures, and 11 Nuggets logged at least 10 minutes.

The Nuggets are one of the hottest teams heading into the postseason. They won 40 of their last 50 games, and were 46-13 after Dec. 12, when a loss to Minnesota dropped them to 11-12.

That was the last time they were below .500, and it came in the midst of playing 17 of their first 23 games away from home.

Once the calendar flipped to 2013, Denver caught fire. A home-heavy schedule paid dividends with a 29-2 record at Pepsi Center from that point. The two losses came against non-playoff teams Minnesota and Washington.

Phoenix split its last four games after losing its previous 10. The Suns finished with 25 wins, their fewest since winning just 16 in their inaugural season of 1968-69.

NOTES: Suns guard Goran Dragic did not play because of an ankle injury, and forward Jermaine O'Neal missed his fourth game in the last six with a bruised shin. ... Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried was out with a sprained ankle suffered in Sunday's win over Portland. Faried is hoping to be back for the first round of the playoffs. "He's been in here three hours a day doing his job," Karl said. "I don't think he'll practice but maybe he'll go through a shootaround." ... There was a moment of silence observed before the tip for the victims of the bombing at Monday's Boston Marathon. ... Before the game the Nuggets presented some of their season ticket holders with signed jerseys from the players. ... The Suns trailed by double digits in 58 of their 82 games this season.
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