PHOENIX, NOV. 11 -- Coach Paul Westhead calls his team's offense "2001, A Space Odyssey." But it was the Phoenix Suns who seemed bound to score 2,001 points before settling for a 173-143 victory over Westhead's winless Denver Nuggets.

In Saturday night's game, the Suns set or tied several NBA records {see chart below}. Leading 107-67 at halftime, they were ready to make a run at the first 200-point game.

"I think we could have done it, got the 200," said Phoenix guard Kevin Johnson, who had 23 points and 17 assists. "But we sputtered a little in the third quarter {Phoenix led, 137-110}. The way the Nuggets push the ball up the floor so fast and shoot it, somebody might get 200 against them. Or they might do it themselves."

Chris Jackson, the Nuggets' first-round draft choice, made his long-awaited debut and scored 26 points. But, he said: "It's frustrating and humiliating. There's no way we were going to give up 200. We're the ones who are supposed to be {scoring like} that, not the other team."

Under Westhead, who perfected the run-and-gun style at Loyola Marymount before being hired by the Nuggets in September, Denver is 0-6.

The Nuggets are averaging 138 points a game but allowing 152.7. They are on a pace that would break the league records Denver set in 1981-82 for scoring average (126.5) and points allowed (126).

"The tightrope I'm walking, you have to win games to keep morale up but we'll reach that point," Westhead said. "I can't tell you if it will be at 15 games, 20 or 30, but this style will be like a cup of coffee in the morning for my guys."

Phoenix made 17 of its first 19 field goal tries. Rookie forward Cedric Ceballos, who scored 22 of his 32 points in the last 6:58 of the second quarter, got Phoenix to 100 on a jumper with 1:52 left.

"We played Denver in the preseason and won 186-123 so I wasn't concerned one way or the other about how many points we scored," said Cotton Fitzsimmons, who picked up his 700th NBA coaching win. "But we're not the type of team to beat playing that way.

"What's the difference between getting beat 100-90 or 165-155? If he {Westhead} thinks he can win that way, more power to him."