Phoenix Suns: 3 Takeaways From Game 2 Victory vs Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Phoenix Suns suited up again last night against the Denver Nuggets, and just like during Game 1, they met little to no resistance, this time winning 123-98. It came as a loss larger than anything the Nuggets endured during the regular season, and once again left head coach Mike Malone looking for answers.

It only took one half for the Suns to establish a double-digit lead this time around, even outdoing their start for Game 1, a contest which they went on to win by 17 points. Devin Booker once more carried over his solid play from the game prior, adding 13 points, six rebounds, while going 2-4 from deep by halftime. Chris Paul tallied seven assists to go into the break paired with six points and four boards.

The Suns unofficially ended the game though during the third period, outscoring the Nuggets 34-25 and extending their lead to 19 points. It only got uglier for Denver during the fourth, with Phoenix’s lead reaching its climax when Mikal Bridges nailed a step-back three pointer to put his team up by 31 points with just over six minutes to play.

Bridges finished with 16 points, going 5-12 from the field. Booker totalled 18 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. But Paul put up historic numbers. Beside his 17 points, CP3 dished out 15 assists, refraining from turning over the ball at all while doing so. With this effort, he passed Magic Johnson for the most playoff games with 15+ assists and zero turnovers since the three-point era. He too became the first player ever to post an assist to turnover ratio such as for three seperate teams during the postseason (Suns, Rockets, Clippers).

But Phoenix’s swarming defensive efforts made the biggest impact throughout this game. Although Nikola Jokic, crowned NBA MVP two days ago, played up to his reputation with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, he received little to no help from his supporting cast.

Denver shot an abysmal 14-43 from beyond the arc, missing more three-pointers than this only two other times this season. Seen as the team’s second scoring option since Jamal Murray‘s injury, Michael Porter Jr. especially struggled, scoring just 11 points while shooting 3-13 from the field. In the spirit of fair play, Porter Jr. nursed a back injury throughout the contest, but Mikal Bridges’s stellar defense on him made a difference as well.

Contrarily, the Suns shot 47.4 percent from deep, making 18 total 3-pointers. It tied a franchise record for the most threes made during a playoff game, set just a few days ago during Phoenix’s Game 6 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

With the dust now settled, the Suns own a 2-0 lead, soon to head into the mountains with a sweep surely on their minds. Before moving on from Game 2 though, these three takeaways deserve recognition.