The Suns’ bench scored on Sunday night like it did when it last played against who? Denver.

And that Dec. 20 bench explosion was the best production since Phoenix last played against who? Denver, on Nov. 8.

If the Suns wind up in a playoff tussle for seeding or qualification with the Nuggets, they can thank their second unit for taking care of Denver three times this season to clinch the season series.

In Sunday’s 117-103 win at US Airways Center, the Suns’ starters all played fewer than 30 minutes because the reserves’ 55 points, 24 rebounds and defense was enough to put away Denver.

The Nuggets (20-20) were missing the red-hot shooting of starting guard Randy Foye, who had a stomach virus, but it was the continued absence of their defense that handed them a third setback in the past four games. Denver has allowed at least 116 points in each of those four games and the Suns took advantage in every way, getting out and running for 17 fast-break points, hammering the offensive boards for 21 second-chance points and rediscovering their 3-point game.

Suns power forward Channing Frye scored 30 points for the first time since April 2011 by hitting 12 of 16 shots, including five of seven 3-point tries. He hit the 30-point mark and got to watch the game’s final 9 1/2 minutes because of the bench’s work and what he already had done previously.

“Just trying to get Goran (Dragic) open makes my job a little easier,” Frye said.

“Thanks, Channing,” Dragic said from a few feet away in the locker room.

After never holding a lead for the first time this season in Friday night’s loss to Dallas, the Suns (23-17) never trailed in Sunday night’s game. They did have a 14-point lead dwindle to three on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Frye scored five points and the bench took it from there with a 10-point fourth quarter from Marcus Morris and the finish to Markieff Morris’ third consecutive strong game (16 points, six rebounds).

“It just seemed like they were taking turns scoring on us,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said.