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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Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Game 2 Takeaway: Nikola Jokic is the only real threat

Jokic’s teammates completely left him out to dry last night. Will Barton’s return to play for the first time since April brought a decent spark off the bench, as he finished with 10 points while hitting 4-8 shots. But still Jokic looked notably deserted, with the starting five around him combining for just 26 points, only two less than the amount Jokic scored himself.

Unable to create for themselves, Jokic’s sidekicks brought little punch to the fight, frequently settling for outside shots, a location which the Suns excel at defending. Having held their opponents to 31.1 percent from three during these playoffs, no team forces a lower 3-point field goal percentage upon their adversaries than Phoenix.

Especially during sets with Jokic resting, the Nuggets looked indecisive and unconfident. Denver’s grit following Murray’s injury a few months ago allowed them stay afloat and coast into the postseason, but against a fundamentally sound team like the Suns, it finally feels like his absence has caught up.

With this acknowledged, the Suns only need to worry about Jokic going forward, especially with Porter Jr. not fully healthy. Even with Jokic drawing double-teams during nearly every possession, the surrounding Nuggets failed to take advantage for themselves.

Aaron Gordon, meant to assume the team’s additional star role without Murray, played incredibly disappointing. The newly acquired forward scored just six points, failing to show any real aggression despite his league-renounced physical and athletic gifts. Although Gordon only has 13 career playoff starts under his belt, his scoring total tied a career postseason low for him.

This team minus Jokic simply does not deserve Phoenix’s attention, and until it does, the Suns would be wise to focus their game plan singularly on Jokic to an even greater extent during the games yet to come.