The Phoenix Suns defeated the Denver Nuggets 121-114 at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Devin Booker (47 points) and Kevin Durant (39 points) combined for 86 points. Booker, 20-of-25 from the field, achieved that total with only two free throw attempts in the game.
- Jamal Murray led Denver with 32 points for defeat. Nikola Jokic added 30 points, 17 assists and 17 rebounds.
- Denver now leads the series 2-1. Game 4 is on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
the athleteInstant Analysis:
Booker refuses to lose
This was one of those nights Booker just wouldn’t let him lose, and that was evident from the opening minutes. That’s what the stars do in this league. They provide when needed. With Chris Paul (groin) out and Durant missing eight of his first nine shots, Booker held the Suns for a while. Even when KD started, Booker didn’t stop. He scored 47 points and did not attempt a free throw until the last 10 seconds. This is amazing. Without performing poker, this would be over. Instead, The Suns have a chance to even this series on Sunday. – Haller
The Suns succeed despite Ayton’s struggles
It’s pretty surprising the Suns found a way to win after getting so little from Deandre Ayton. The Suns big guy wasn’t great in the series, but he wasn’t terrible. He had posted 14 points and 7.5 rebounds over the first two games. In Game 3, he was a non-factor in 26 minutes. Finally, after Ayton fouled inside and lost a defensive rebound, coach Monty Williams pulled him with five minutes left.
During a break, Ayton spoke with the assistant coaches. Talk to Paul. He looked disappointed. He finished with four points and nine rebounds. The sun survived Friday. They won’t for the rest of the series. – Haller
Why did Denver lose Game 3?
This came down to Denver not getting hits or making baskets down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He also eventually loses minutes that don’t belong to Joki for the first time in the series. Down 90-88 in the fourth quarter, with Jokić taking a rest, the Nuggets gave up 9-0 in two minutes and were never able to recover from a 99-88 deficit. – Jones
What went wrong with Denver’s defense?
Denver coach Michael Malone called his team’s defense of Devin Booker “unacceptable.” He said the Nuggets weren’t physical enough to defend, weren’t high enough on the ground and weren’t competitive enough when it mattered. Defensively, the Nuggets had a good quarter, Malone said, in the third quarter, but otherwise weren’t good enough in that end to win a playoff game on the road. – Jones
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(Photo: Mark J. Rebellas/USA Today)
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