NBA: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets embarrass Suns to succeed in West last


Nikola Jokic Denver Nuggets NBA

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets high-fives Aaron Gordon #50 through the second quarter in recreation six of the Western Convention Semifinal Playoffs in opposition to the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Heart on Could 11, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Pictures/AFP

Nikola Jokic recorded 32 factors, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to assist the Denver Nuggets steamroll the host Phoenix Suns 125-100 on Thursday night time and win their Western Convention semifinal collection in six video games.

Jamal Murray scored 26 factors and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope produced all 21 of his factors in a dominant first half because the top-seeded Nuggets reached the convention finals for the second time up to now 4 seasons. It’s Denver’s fifth general journey to the Western finals.

Cameron Payne established private playoff highs of 31 factors and 7 3-pointers for the fourth-seeded Suns. Kevin Durant scored 23 factors, however Devin Booker had simply 12 to go along with eight assists.

The Nuggets will open the Western Convention finals at residence on Tuesday in opposition to both the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Lakers.

Phoenix trailed 81-51 on the break, with the 30-point margin tying final season’s Suns for the third-worst playoff halftime deficit in NBA historical past to a group going through elimination. Phoenix trailed the Dallas Mavericks by 30 in Recreation 7 of the Western Convention semifinals earlier than succumbing 123-90.

The larger halftime deficits in elimination video games belong to the San Francisco Warriors (34 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks in Recreation 5 of the 1971 Western Convention semifinals) and the Bucks (32 vs. the Chicago Bulls in Recreation 6 of the 2015 Japanese Convention first spherical).

Chris Paul (groin) missed his fourth straight recreation and Suns teammate Deandre Ayton (rib) additionally sat out. Phoenix shot 48.1 % from the sector and 11 of 28 (39.3 %) from behind the arc. The Suns additionally acquired 13 factors from Jock Landale.

Bruce Brown scored 13 factors and Michael Porter Jr. added 10 for the Nuggets, who shot 53.7 % from the sector, together with 8 of twenty-two (36.4 %) from 3-point vary. Jokic linked on 13 of 18 pictures whereas posting his third triple-double of the collection.

Denver started pulling away by scoring 17 straight factors to finish the primary quarter with a 44-26 lead. Murray scored the primary two factors of the second to cap a 19-0 surge.

The Suns have been down by 15 after Booker’s basket with 5:11 left within the first half earlier than the Nuggets exploded on a 19-2 burst. Murray’s brief jumper capped the run to make it 79-47 with 1:05 remaining.

Along with Caldwell-Pope’s large half, Jokic had 20 factors and Murray scored 18 within the half. For Phoenix, Payne had 19 factors earlier than the break.

The Suns trimmed the deficit to 91-68 on Payne’s 3-pointer with 4:36 left within the third quarter. Nevertheless, Murray sank two 3-pointers throughout a 10-3 run to get the Nuggets’ lead again as much as 30.

Denver led 103-76 coming into the ultimate stanza. Jokic exited with the Nuggets up by 25 with 2:11 remaining.


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