PHOENIX — Chris Paul is a 36 year old man who can nonetheless prepare an NBA factor shield’s model of a virtuoso overall performance: Fifteen assists, no turnovers and it brought about some other blowout playoff victory for his rolling Phoenix Suns.
“I feel good,” Paul said. “I feel really good.”
The ageless Paul brought 17 points, Devin Booker had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Phoenix routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 on Wednesday night time to take a 2-zero lead withinside the Western Conference semifinals.
Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Mikal Bridges brought sixteen points for the balanced Suns of their 5th immediately victory.
Paul turned into in particular fantastic and it seems his ill proper shoulder — which significantly constrained his play in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers withinside the first round — isn’t lots of a trouble anymore. The eleven-time All-Star had 21 points and eleven assists in Game 1.
Nikola Jokic had 24 points and thirteen rebounds for Denver, an afternoon once you have the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. But the Nuggets couldn’t discover everyone else to attain consistently, leaving them reeling going lower back to Denver for Game three on Friday night time.
“This turned into an embarrassing overall performance for myself all of the manner to the closing player,” Denver train Michael Malone stated. “We are strolling out right here with our heads held down and rightfully so. There turned into a cause that their crowd turned into yelling ”Suns in four!” and they may be calling for a sweep due to the fact if we play like this in Denver, that is going to be a truely short series.”
The Suns had a 10-points halftime lead Wednesday and Jae Crowder brought a couple of three-recommendations early withinside the 1/3 to make it 60-43. Phoenix took an 86-sixty seven benefit into the fourth. The Suns led with the aid of using 31 withinside the very last region as they relentlessly driven the ball while the lead built.
“It’s the NBA — loopy matters can occur regardless of how large of a lead you have,” Suns ahead Torrey Craig stated.
Crowder had some other top night time because the Suns’ lengthy-variety shooter and enforcer. He and Denver’s Aaron Gordon had been every known as for a technical foul once they exchanged phrases and shoves halfway thru the 1/3. On the subsequent possession, Crowder coaxed Gordon into committing an offensive foul, lots to the pleasure of the sixteen,529 at Phoenix Suns Arena.
“It turned into one in every of our higher protecting halves of the yr in opposition to a very good offensive team,” Suns train Monty Williams stated. “We had been relentless with our effort, our conversation and coverages.”
Crowder stated he isn’t looking for to be the team’s enforcer however the moments maintain locating him. He joked that he’s already given to lots cash to the NBA withinside the shape of fines all through this postseason.
“I were given to be clever and guard my cash a little,” he brought grinning.
Paul driven the sellout crowd right into a frenzy withinside the fourth, throwing his fifteenth help to Craig after criss-crossing round helpless Denver ahead Paul Millsap. Paul then hit a couple of three-recommendations and the birthday party turned into on withinside the barren region with the Suns rolling of their first playoff look in eleven seasons.
Phoenix took a 52-forty two halftime lead after a sloppy first 1/2 of wherein each groups struggled to generate offense. Denver turned into shaky with its lengthy variety shooting, making simply 1 of thirteen three-recommendations withinside the first region.
Booker had thirteen points earlier than the break. Jokic countered with 15 points.
SUNS HURTING NUGGETS
Some of Denver’s higher gamers are handling injuries, along with ahead Michael Porter Jr. (lower back) and shield Will Barton (hamstring). Both had been indexed at the harm report.
Porter began out and performed 27 mins, completing with eleven points and 6 rebounds however shot simply three of thirteen from the field. Barton performed for the primary time in approximately six weeks, getting into the sport past due withinside the first region. He performed sixteen mins and had 10 points and turned into additionally known as for a technical foul withinside the 1/3.
Nuggets: Guards PJ Dozier (proper adductor strain) and Jamal Murray (left ACL surgery) didn’t play. … Millsap had eleven points and 6 rebounds.
Suns: Forward Abdel Nader (proper knee arthroscopy) didn’t play. … The Suns had a 52-forty six rebounding benefit.
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