Jokic, Nuggets pulverized Suns to take West Finals spot for second time in four years


Photo: Denver Nuggets/Twitter

The Denver Nuggets completed a six-game series triumph against the Phoenix Suns in a dominant fashion, 125-100, to become the first team in the 2023 Playoffs to book a seat to the Conference Finals.

Nikola Jokic maintained his dominance to lead Denver from the tip, dropping his 11th playoff triple-double of his career with 32 points (13/18 shooting), 12 assists, 10 boards to go with three steals. Per NBA History, he now becomes the fifth player in NBA history after Magic Johnson (30), LeBron James (28), Russell Westbrook (12) and Jason Kidd (11) to clinch 11 career playoff triple-doubles.

Meanwhile, Jamal Murray chipped in 26 points, four boards, four assists and four steals to aid the two-time MVP, with veteran Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributing 21 points and five boards.

The Nuggets already walloped the Suns that finishing blow as early as the first-half. With an 81-51 halftime card, Denver posted the most points by a road team in the league’s postseason history. Their 30-point lead is meanwhile their largest in any of their playoff breaks in team history.

Kevin Durant ended the night with 23 points to go with five boards and five assists with four turnovers. As such, Devin Booker had that stain in his scorching playoff run this year, dropping just 12 in 4-of-13 field goals in the elimination Game 6 for the Suns.

This marks the second time in four years that the Nuggets will play for the right to advance to the NBA Finals. After two years of disappointment and wasted contention from Murray and Michael Porter Jr.’s injury, Jokic and the co. now holds a legitimate chance to fight for that elusive title.

Meanwhile, another season of disappointment for the Suns. After delivering a blockbuster trade deadline move to acquire Durant by sending a massive haul to the Brooklyn Nets, they came up short in this Conference Semis. The unfortunate unavailability of both Chris Paul (groin) and Deandre Ayton (rib) may send the two atop of the team’s offseason checklist that needs to be settled, with governor Mat Ishbia set to spend a full summer addressing the needs of the team.

The Nuggets will wait for the victors between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors from the separate bracket of the West Semifinals. The Lakers hold a 3-2 series lead against the Warriors heading to their Game 6 duel on Friday.

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