The Phoenix Suns didn’t let Nikola Jokic savor the MVP of the season trophy, which was awarded to him on Wednesday, for very long. If there was a celebration, it was that of the Suns and their public, who celebrated a second victory in a row in this semi-final of the Western Conference (123-98) against the Nuggets who will not no other choice but to react, in Game 3 which will be played Friday in Colorado.
We were worried about the Suns side, for Chris Paul’s battered and recovering right shoulder, but “CP3” showed he was doing much better. He was the great craftsman of the game of his family, and contributed to the development of the beautiful offensive collective of the Suns (6 players between 10 and 18 points).
After his 21 points and 11 rebounds in Game 1, he reigned in Game 2, delighting the public and his teammates with his passes. He created hysteria in the final quarter, scoring his fifteenth pass for Torrey Craig, after blowing Paul Millsap. The 36-year-old point guard then investigated two award-winning shots that put the room in a trance. He finished the game with 17 points and 15 assists, all without a single stray bullet! This is the third time in his career that Chris Paul has completed a playoff game with more than 15 points and 15 assists, without a stray ball, a performance achieved only six times in NBA history, and that he has performed with three different teams (Hornets, Clippers then Suns).
The Nuggets therefore took the wave in the face, in a game where the two teams struggled to start in the first quarter, where Denver crashed behind the award-winning line (1/13). Phoenix always stayed ahead, carried by DeAndre Ayton (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Mikal Bridges (16 pts). Led by Chris Pual, Phoenix took the lead at halftime (52-42) before two award-winning shots from Jae Crowder, as soon as the restart, sounded the charge of the Suns. Dominated on the rebound, and carried by a Jokic a little alone in the desert (24 points and 13 rebounds), the Nuggets did not have enough arguments to stem the game of their opponent.
In their defense, the returns from injury of Michael Porter Jr and Will Barton, who had not played for six weeks, were complicated. Porter played 27 minutes, and if he finished with 11 points and six rebounds, he was in failure on the shoot (3/13). As for Barton, he played 16 minutes, for 10 points and a technical foul in the third quarter. In short, it was not a good night for Denver, which will have to recover at home this Friday. While for his reappearance in the playoffs, for the first time in eleven years, Phoenix feels growing wings.