In the second half of Game 1, the Phoenix Suns seemed to unlock something as they went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter to flip an 9-point deficit into an 7-point advantage and have not looked back since. In Game 2, they continued to exploit those weaknesses they found in the Nuggets on both ends of the floor, led once again by the efforts of Chris Paul.
The Point God finished the game with 17 points, 15 assists, and no turnovers in 31 minutes of play. As he so often does, he steadily picked apart the Denver defense in the pick-and-roll game, finding open shooters and cutters to tee them up for buckets, and in the fourth quarter it was his time to put the game on ice attacking the switch with Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap as the Suns ran away with a blowout 123-98 win.
CHRIS. PAUL. IS. TAKING. OVER.
— NBA (@NBA) June 10, 2021
It was a complete team effort from the Suns, as all five starters finished in double figures, led by Devin Booker’s 18 points and 10 rebounds and another efficient double-double from Deandre Ayton with 15 points and 10 boards.
In the words of @DevinBook:
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 10, 2021
Every player that touched the floor for the Suns in their main 9-man rotation was a positive on the game, a testament to the thorough domination they displayed throughout the evening. Offensively, they were outstanding as a group, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from three, as Phoenix was able to create just about any shot they wanted all night.
The opposite was the case for Denver, which started the game 4-of-17 from three in the first half and had just a dreadful offensive night aside from Nikola Jokic. The MVP had 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in 30 minutes, while the other four Nuggets starters combined for 26 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on 9-of-32 shooting. Michael Porter Jr.’s struggles to start this series continued in Game 2, as he was 3-of-13 from the field and got picked on mercilessly by Paul, Booker, and the Suns pick-and-roll offense, putting him in action all night to force rotations from the Denver defense.
With the Nuggets unable to knock down threes (14-of-43 for the game), the Suns just swarmed Jokic and steadily pulled away from Denver.
— NBA (@NBA) June 10, 2021
It was as thorough a two-way performance as you could hope to see if you are a Suns fan, with Deandre Ayton continuing to keep Jokic from getting easy buckets at the rim and Phoenix’s rotations being incredibly crisp behind to get out to shooters and not let Jokic pick them apart with his passing. For the Nuggets, they’re going to go home to Denver with plenty to think about on both ends. Their pick-and-roll coverage against Chris Paul has been rough now for two games, particularly in crunch time, and offensively, they have to figure out how to take the pressure off of Jokic. Some of that comes down to guys simply hitting shots, but MPJ in particular has to be better going forward as the secondary scorer — and at times primary scorer — if Denver’s to have any chance of righting the ship.