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CP3 Explodes in the Fourth, Leads Suns Past Nuggets in Game 1

Suns

The Phoenix Suns starters combined to score 99 of the team’s points to help take down the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series, 122 – 105.

Four of the Suns’ starters scored at least 20 points and pulled in at least 4 rebounds. All five starters combined to shoot a blazing 65% from the field.

Nikola Jokic led the way for the Nuggets with 22 points, but did not score in the fourth quarter and had only 3 assists while committing a team-high 4 turnovers. 

A 16-0 run from the Suns in the third quarter helped them grab a lead that they did not relinquish for the rest of the game. Chris Paul led the way for the Suns in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points in the final frame. 

Four Nugget starters topped 14 points and five hit double figures in scoring. None, however, scored more than 22 points and only one hit the 20-point mark.

CP3 Comes Alive in the Fourth

Through three quarters, Paul was shooting just 2-of-8 from the field and had only 7 points. The fourth quarter proved to be a whole different ball game.

The Suns had grown their lead to 9 points entering the final frame. From there, led by the stellar play of Paul, their lead ballooned.

For the first half of the fourth quarter, the Suns had four bench players and Paul out of the floor. In this key stretch of the game, Paul delivered by shooting 6-of-6 in the final quarter. 

He ended with a 21-point, 11-assist double-double. He also added 6 rebounds and a steal for good measure. It should be noted that he did all of that while committing only 1 turnover. 

For one stretch, Paul scored 10-straight Sun points, helping their lead hit a game-high 18 points.

Aaron Gordon Steps Up

Despite the loss, the Nuggets had a solid performance from Aaron Gordon. Gordon went 8-of-14 in his 29 minutes on the floor. He notched 18 points and 3 steals, both single-game highs in this year’s playoffs. 

2 assists and 4 rebounds, including 3 offensive ones, completed Gordon’s best all-around game this postseason.

Not only did he produce statistically, but he also played hard physical defense. Following a series where he guarded Damian Lillard for much of Games 5 and 6, he drew the defensive assignment for Devin Booker, a matchup that he held his own in.

Suns Rip The Net

Especially in the second half, the Suns played an immaculate offensive game. Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton, Paul, and Booker each scored at least 20 points for the Suns. 

They each made at least 8 field goals, and none of them had more than 14 attempts from the floor. Bridges led the way with 23 points, including 4 triples. Booker and Paul each finished with 21 and Ayton added 10 rebounds to go along with 20 points.

The team shot 54% from the field and collected 30 assists on 46 made baskets. They also totaled only 10 turnovers, only Booker committed more than one. 

Up Next

Game 2 will again be in Phoenix at 9:30 pm on Wednesday. The Nuggets will hope to even up the series while the Suns look to push their series to a commanding 2-0 lead.

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