Paul, Booker help Suns torch Nuggets in Game 1 | Inquirer Sports
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Paul, Booker help Suns torch Nuggets in Game 1

/ 01:01 PM June 08, 2021
Devin Booker Suns Nuggets Game 1

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JUNE 07: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot and foul from the Denver Nuggets during the second half in Game One of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Phoenix Suns Arena on June 07, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Chris Paul scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and also contributed 11 assists and six rebounds to help the Phoenix Suns record a 122-105 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night.

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Mikal Bridges scored 23 points, Devin Booker notched 21 points and eight assists, and Deandre Ayton contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds for the second-seeded Suns. Phoenix outscored Denver 59-33 over the final 19 minutes, 34 seconds.

Nikola Jokic registered 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the third-seeded Nuggets.

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Aaron Gordon scored 18 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 15 points, Facundo Campazzo tallied 14 points and JaMychal Green had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Denver.

Game 2 will be Wednesday night, also in Phoenix.

Jae Crowder added 14 points for the Suns, who shot 54.1 percent from the field, including 13 of 34 from 3-point range.

The Nuggets connected on 46.7 percent of their shots and were 14 of 40 from behind the arc.

Denver held a 72-63 lead after two free throws by Austin Rivers with 7:34 left in the third quarter before the Suns exploded for 16 straight points en route to controlling the remainder of the contest.

Ayton’s three-point play put Phoenix ahead at 74-72 with 4:26 left in the third before Booker nailed a 3-pointer and Bridges added a basket to complete the run and give the Suns a seven-point lead.

Porter knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:22 left to end a Denver scoring drought of 4:12.

The Nuggets were again within four later in the stanza before Phoenix rattled off 11 consecutive points. Ayton’s dunk and Bridges’ 3-pointer gave the Suns an 88-79 lead entering the fourth quarter before Dario Saric scored a basket and Paul knocked down back-to-back jumpers to make it 94-79 with 10:27 left in the contest.

Paul Millsap scored in the interior with 10 minutes left to halt the Phoenix run. But the Suns kept the heat on as Paul converted a three-point play and a 3-pointer and Cameron Payne fed the alley-oop to Torrey Craig for a ferocious dunk that increased the Phoenix lead to 102-84 with 8:36 left.

Crowder later knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 114-97 with 3:34 left, and Booker added a jumper 26 seconds later to end any suspense. The Suns’ lead topped out at 20 points.

Jokic had 15 first-half points as the Nuggets held a 58-57 lead at the break.

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TAGS: Chris Paul, Denver Nuggets, Devin Booker, NBA playoffs, Nikola Jokic, Phoenix Suns
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