Nuggets dominate Suns in Phoenix, clinch journey to Western Convention finals

Nikola Jokić scored 32 factors in one other triple-double and Jamal Murray added 26 because the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Phoenix Suns 125-100 in Recreation 6 on Thursday evening, advancing the group to the Western Convention finals for the primary time since 2020.

Denver’s sequence victory comes two seasons after the Nuggets have been embarrassed in a second-round postseason sweep by the Suns. This time, it was the Suns getting blown out on their dwelling flooring to finish the season for the second straight 12 months.

The Nuggets will play within the convention finals for the primary time since they misplaced to the Lakers in 5 video games within the Florida bubble throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve by no means reached the NBA Finals.

The highest-seeded Nuggets used a 23-2 run throughout the latter a part of the primary quarter to take a 44-26 lead and by no means appeared again. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — averaging 9.5 factors within the playoffs — scored 17 within the first quarter whereas Jokić added 14.


Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets high-fives Aaron Gordon #50 throughout the second quarter in sport six of the Western Convention Semifinal Playoffs in opposition to the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Middle on Might 11, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Christian Petersen/Getty Photos)

Caldwell-Pope completed with 21 factors. Jokić shot 13 of 18 from the sector and added 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Denver’s offensive onslaught continued within the second because the lead grew to 81-51 by halftime, resulting in boos from Suns followers as gamers made their technique to the locker room. The second half was basically an afterthought.

Cameron Payne scored 31 factors for Phoenix, hitting 7 of 9 3-pointers. Kevin Durant added 23.

The Suns have been enjoying with out injured starters Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul. Ayton sustained a rib contusion in Tuesday’s Recreation 5 whereas Paul has been out the previous 4 video games with a strained left groin.

Phoenix was eradicated within the Western Convention semifinals at dwelling for the second consecutive 12 months regardless of a blockbuster commerce deadline deal for Durant, a 13-time All-Star and one of many league’s most prolific scorers. The 34-year-old had some good moments within the playoffs, however made simply 1 of his first 10 photographs on Thursday because the Suns fell into an enormous gap.

Aaron Gordon hyped

Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates throughout Recreation Six of the Western Convention Semi-Finals of the 2023 NBA Playoffs in opposition to the Phoenix Suns on Might 11, 2023, at Footprint Middle in Phoenix, Arizona. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE through Getty Photos)


Suns guard Devin Booker was sensible in many of the postseason, averaging 36 factors per sport on 60% earlier than Recreation 6, however the three-time All-Star completed with simply 12 factors on Thursday.

The house group received the primary 5 video games of the sequence till the Nuggets broke via in Recreation 6.


For the Suns, the loss was eerily much like Recreation 7 of final 12 months’s Western Convention semifinals. Phoenix, with the NBA’s finest file, fell behind Dallas by 30 factors by halftime and ended up dropping 123-90 to finish its season.

Within the shot clock period, the house group has trailed by 30-plus factors in a possible playoff elimination sport simply 3 times. Phoenix is now accountable for two of them. The opposite was the Bucks in 2015.

Nikola Jokic looks on

Denver Nuggets heart Nikola Jokić (15) seems on in opposition to the Phoenix Suns throughout the first half of sport six of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Footprint Middle.  (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports activities)

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Nuggets: Murray was listed as questionable earlier than the sport with a non-COVID sickness. Murray obtained an enormous hug from Nuggets coach Michael Malone as he checked out of the sport for the ultimate time.

Suns: Jock Landale completed with 13 factors and 5 rebounds, beginning rather than Ayton. The group hosted its eightieth consecutive sellout crowd, counting common season and postseason video games. The Suns have by no means received a title since coming into the league in 1968.

Peter Johnson