Denver Nuggets 98-123 Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul destroys Nikola Jokic and co. with historic outing; here are 5 talking points from Game 2 | 2021 NBA Playoffs Round 2

Devin Booker #1 high-fives Deandre Ayton #22 and Chris Paul #3 after scoring against the Denver Nuggets
Devin Booker #1 high-fives Deandre Ayton #22 and Chris Paul #3 after scoring against the Denver Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns hammered the Denver Nuggets with a 123-98 victory in Game 2 of their 2021 NBA Playoffs matchup on Wednesday.

The Western Conference semifinals series is now 2-0 in favor of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have blown out the competition in four straight games going back to Game 5 of their first-round matchup with the LA Lakers.

Chris Paul led the charge with a 17-point, 15-assist and 0-turnover masterpiece. He also grabbed five rebounds, shot 60 percent from the field and was 2-of-2 from three.

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The Phoenix Suns destroyed the Denver Nuggets with balanced scoring, as six players scored in double-figures. Devin Booker was the Suns’ leading scorer with 18 points.

The Phoenix Suns broke the game wide open with a 34-point third quarter that saw the Denver Nuggets fall behind 86-67.

Let’s take a look at the 5 talking points from the Denver Nuggets vs Phoenix Suns game:

1. Chris Paul’s history-making game against the Denver Nuggets

Chris Paul dissected the Denver Nuggets’ defense with precision as he showcased his pinpoint passing and deft ball handling. No one was able to take the Phoenix Suns guard out of his game, even with the physical play from the Denver Nuggets.

According to Stat Muse, this was his third career playoff game with at least 15 assists and zero turnovers, breaking a tie with Magic Johnson for the most since the three-point era (1980).

2. Denver Nuggets missing threes

It was an ugly shooting night for the Denver Nuggets’ perimeter players, particularly their starters.

Michael Porter Jr., who was questionable for the game due to a back issue, was the primary culprit. He was ice cold from the field and couldn’t get himself going even when he took wide-open shots.

The same was true for the starting backcourt of Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers, who couldn’t bury a three-pointer even if their lives depended on it.

Combined, the trio shot a horrid 4-of-19 from beyond the arc, with Porter taking nine of those shots.

3. Phoenix Suns defense at its best

The Phoenix Suns were both aggressive and scrappy on defense. They weren’t tentative with their double teams and knew which of their teammates needed help.

The Suns' defense was at its finest. With this being the playoffs, they couldn’t have picked a better time to be in sync defensively.

They forced the Denver Nuggets to shoot just 40.0 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three.

4. Nikola Jokic, the lone wolf

The Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic #15 and Michael Porter Jr. #1 question the referee
The Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic #15 and Michael Porter Jr. #1 question the referee

After the Game 1 debacle, the Denver Nuggets should have come out of the gates determined to avoid a 0-2 hole. However, 2021 MVP Nikola Jokic was the only one who put up a fight against the Phoenix Suns.

Jokic knew how to manage the clock. He was calculated and methodical with his moves to keep pace with the Phoenix Suns players. Unfortunately, it looked like no one followed his lead as the offense was often sloppy, especially when he didn’t touch the ball.

Overall, Jokic had 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists on 9-of-17 shooting from the field.

5. Deandre Ayton manages early foul trouble

Denver Nuggets' Facundo Campazzo #7 reacts after a foul from the Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton #22
Denver Nuggets' Facundo Campazzo #7 reacts after a foul from the Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton #22

Deandre Ayton picked up two quick fouls that kept him from being effective early in the game.

Despite the fouls, Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams left Ayton on the floor. The big man responded with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the game.


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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh