The Phoenix Suns appeared to find something in the second half of Game 1 when they went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter to turn a 9-point deficit into a 7-point lead and have not looked back since. In Game 2, they continued to take advantage of the Nuggets’ deficiencies on both ends of the floor, headed once again by Chris Paul’s heroics.
What’s the Point In 31 minutes of play, God finished with 17 points, 15 assists, and 0 turnovers. He steadily picked apart the Denver defense in the pick-and-roll game, finding open shooters and cutters to set them up for buckets, and in the fourth quarter, it was his turn to put the game out of reach, attacking the switch with Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap as the Suns cruised to a 123-98 victory.
The Suns put on a total team effort, as all five starters scored in double digits, paced by Devin Booker’s 18 points and 10 rebounds and Deandre Ayton’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Every player in the Suns’ regular 9-man rotation had a good impact on the game, demonstrating their complete dominance throughout the evening. They were superb offensively, hitting 47.9% from the field and 47.4% from three-point ranges, as Phoenix was able to create almost any shot they wanted all night.
Denver, on the other hand, started the game 4-of-17 from three in the first half and, aside from Nikola Jokic, had a terrible offensive night. In 30 minutes, the MVP had 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, while the Nuggets’ other four starters combined for 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on 9-of-32 shooting. Michael Porter Jr.’s problems to start the series continued in Game 2, as he shot 3-of-13 from the field and was relentlessly picked on by Paul, Booker, and the Suns pick-and-roll offense, which kept him in the game all night to force the Denver defense to rotate.
With the Nuggets unable to knock down threes (14-of-43 for the game), the Suns just swarmed Jokic and steadily pulled away from Denver.
If you’re a Suns fan, it was as complete a two-way performance as you could hope to see, with Deandre Ayton continuing to keep Jokic from getting easy baskets at the rim and Phoenix’s rotations being incredibly crisp behind the arc to get out to shooters and not let Jokic pick them apart with his passing. The Nuggets will return home to Denver with a lot on their minds on both ends of the court. Their pick-and-roll coverage against Chris Paul has been shaky for the past two games, especially in crunch time, and they need to find a way to relieve the load on Jokic offensively. Some of that comes down to guys simply hitting shots, but MPJ in particular has to be better going forward as the secondary scorer — and at times primary scorer — if Denver’s to have any chance of righting the ship.