The Phoenix Suns claimed Game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals against the Denver Nuggets, beating them 122-105 at Phoenix Suns Arena. The Suns picked up pace in the second half of the game, outscoring the Nuggets 65-47 in that stretch.
Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton all scored 20+ points on the night to round off a brilliant team effort. The Phoenix Suns were down by 10 points at one stage in the third quarter but made a scorching comeback to go up by 9 heading into the fourth.
The Phoenix Suns Arena was buzzing and was right behind their team throughout. Chris Paul couldn't help but appreciate the fans' energy and the efforts his team has taken to gain home-court advantage in the playoffs. Here's what he said after the game:
"This crowd is crazy. It's crazy. To have the fans in there, this energy. There's nothing like it. And I told the guys, this is why we worked so hard, to get this home-court advantage."
Paul scored or assisted 20 of the 34 points that the Phoenix Suns scored in the fourth quarter, which proved to be crucial in helping them beat the Nuggets, who were looking sharp before that.
Phoenix Suns young stars Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker reflect on the team's effort as a whole
The Phoenix Suns' two young leaders, Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, had a tremendous game as well. Ayton scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds, while Booker ended the night with 21 points and eight assists.
The Suns were efficient with their ball movement and were often able to find the open man during the match. That proved to be the key as it put immense pressure on the Denver Nuggets defense.
Booker praised his teammates post-game and also spoke highly of veteran Chris Paul, who came up clutch in the fourth quarter. Here's what he said:
"We felt the energy, we felt the passion behind it. He just made plays...and that's been the story of the season for us, just following him in that regard."
Meanwhile, Deandre Ayton matched up well against Denver Nuggets talisman Nikola Jokic and did a great job on both ends of the floor. Jokic and Ayton had almost the same numbers; the former finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, while the latter had 20 and 11. Speaking on his matchup with Jokic, Ayton said he enjoys playing against him and also asserted the fact that he is the league's MVP.
"I love playing against Jokic. That's the MVP of our league. He can do so much."
Game 2 of this NBA Western Conference semi-finals will take place on Wednesday night at the Phoenix Suns Arena. The Phoenix Suns will be eager to maintain homecourt advantage and take a 2-0 lead before they head to Ball Arena for Games 3 and 4.
Dear reader, please take a short, 30-second survey to help us improve and give you better NBA/basketball coverage on our site. Here's the link for it.