The Phoenix Suns were routed by Nikola Joki and the Denver Nuggets, 125-100, to exit the Western Conference playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Only one club participated in the decisive game of a series that many believed would determine the eventual Western Conference champion; that team was the Denver Nuggets, who won the series 4-2.
With a stellar effort that included 32 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, Joki extended his fantastic postseason run.
‘The Joker’ established the tone right away and destroyed the Suns in the opening frame. The Suns had just 26 points after the first 12 minutes thanks to the two-time MVP’s 26 points or 26 assists.
After the first quarter, the Nuggets led 44–26 and never looked back. With a triple-double from Joki and over 20 points each from Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Nuggets easily cruised to victory.
Suns supporters will be worried about the outcome and in particular, the performance because many will believe it is a rerun of Phoenix’s terrible Game 7 performance from the previous season.
The Dallas Mavericks destroyed the Suns by a score of 123-90 in a vital playoff matchup in 2022, as the Suns once again failed to perform in a game that was win-or-go-home.
In his 36 minutes on the court, Devin Booker battled with his shot and scored just 12 points. On a bad night for the Sun’s organization, Kevin Durant was also far from his best.
After the game, Durant told reporters, was an awful feeling. It was humiliating. We were punched in the mouth when they came out and lost consciousness.
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The Suns’ surprising top scorer, Cameron Payne, also said to reporters:
“I wish it had been at least closer. Naturally, I want to prevail, but this simply doesn’t seem right.”
Following the series victory, Denver’s head coach Michael Malone was all praise for this group of players.
When we defend, when we rebound, when we run, when we share the ball, we all believe we’re the best team in the NBA, he said to reporters after the game.
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