Phoenix Suns: 3 Takeaways From Game 1 Victory vs Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
1 of 4

Trailing the Denver Nuggets during almost the entire first half, the Phoenix Suns trotted back into the locker room at halftime down 57-58, having kept pace with their opponent during Game 1, but unable to gather any real momentum. At the time, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. had collected 33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, while shooting 13-17 from the field.

Although Devin Booker appeared to heat up during the second quarter’s latter half, he entered the break with just 11 points. That might seem like a solid early effort for most NBA players, but not for Booker, who averaged 29.6 points per game during his team’s previous series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

But a few minutes later when Austin Rivers sunk a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up 70-60 with 8:13 left in the third quarter, it rekindled the raging fire Phoenix formerly used to burn out LeBron James and the defending champs a week ago. Captained by Booker and Mikal Bridges, the Suns exploded with a 16-0 run to not only seize the lead, but extend it and enter the fourth quarter up 88-79.

Despite shooting 63.6 percent from the field at the half, Nikola Jokic shot just 3-10 during the third quarter. Phoenix absolutely hounded the Nuggets, grabbing three steals and blocking a shot as they let it rain on the offensive end.

The game’s final period was all fun. Phoenix completely buried the Nuggets with 34 points, collectively shooting 14-20. Chris Paul, who tallied only two made field goals up to the point, embraced the “closer” role, going 6-6 from the field and snagging 14 points during the fourth quarter.

A long road still awaits the Suns, surely distancing them from their ultimate goal, as this came as only the first contest during these Western Conference Semifinals. Regardless though, we still learned a great deal from Game 1, including these three takeaways.