Nikola Jokic had a triple-double after making up with Suns proprietor Mat Ishbia and Michael Porter Jr. sank 5 3-pointers to assist the Denver Nuggets beat Phoenix 118-102 on Tuesday night time in Sport 5 to regain the sequence lead.
Joker had 29 factors, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his tenth profession playoff triple-double, breaking a tie with Wilt Chamberlain for many by a middle in NBA historical past.
Sport 6 is Thursday night time in Phoenix. The house staff has received each sport within the sequence. If that holds true once more, the decisive winner-take-all conflict will come Sunday again in Denver, the place the top-seeded Nuggets personal the NBA’s finest residence document at 39-7, together with 5-0 within the playoffs.
After Denver misplaced two straight at Phoenix, Nuggets coach Michael Malone devised a five-point plan for the Nuggets to regain management of the sequence: patch up their transition protection, sluggish Devin Booker, get extra from his bench, unleash MPJ and knock down open 3s.
Examine, test, test, test and test.
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Porter bounced again from a nasty night time in Sport 4 with 19 factors on 5-of-8 capturing from lengthy vary. Denver outscored Phoenix 31-23 in fast-break factors; Booker scored 28 factors however missed 11 of 19 photographs; Bruce Brown boosted the Nuggets’ bench with 25 factors and the Nuggets sank 13 of 27 from lengthy vary.
Kevin Durant chipped in 26 factors for Phoenix.
The Nuggets turned a three-point halftime lead right into a 91-74 cushion with a dominant third quarter wherein Jokic made seven of eight photographs for 17 factors and Booker was simply 1-for-8 for 3 factors.
The chippiness of the sequence reached a brand new degree within the last minute of the third quarter when Nuggets swingman Brown antagonized the Suns as they huddled up on the courtroom and Durant gave Jokic a forearm shiver. A double technical was assessed on Durant and Brown.
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Earlier than the sport, Jokic shared a heat pregame embrace — and the basketball — with Ishbia 48 hours after their kerfuffle over a unfastened ball in Phoenix in Sport 4 resulted in a technical foul and a $25,000 fantastic for the Nuggets large man.
“I hoped he was going to pay my fantastic,” Jokic cracked after the sport.
The Nuggets jumped out to an early 14-point lead however the Suns trailed simply 52-49 at halftime, and the sport might need been tied had Booker’s almost halfcourt heave left his arms only a tick sooner.
The Suns received a scare with 2.4 seconds left within the first quarter when Booker turned his left ankle after getting fouled by Jeff Inexperienced on an tried layup. A number of minutes later, the Nuggets received their very own scare when Murray turned his proper ankle and walked round gingerly, shaking it off to remain within the sport.
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Suns: Phoenix surrendered the primary 9 factors of the sport earlier than Cameron Payne’s lengthy 3-pointer on the 9:33 mark. … Seated courtside alongside Ishbia was Michigan State soccer coach Mel Tucker, derisively identified in a lot of Colorado as “Midnight Mel” for his departure from the Buffaloes job solely hours after telling boosters he was in Boulder to remain.
Nuggets: This marked the primary sport within the sequence that the chief after one quarter held on to win the sport. … The Nuggets held the Suns with out a level for greater than 2 minutes in every of the primary three quarters and Phoenix’s first bucket within the fourth quarter got here on the 10:16 mar on a bucket by Durant.