Headed into this series it was safe to say the Phoenix Suns had doubters. The Suns were not seen as a top team or title contender throughout the majority of the year. However, the Suns have taken that criticism and responded with pure dominance. Phoenix was in complete control for the majority of this series. Including the NBA bubble last year, the Suns are now 67-23 in their last 90 games. Phoenix has dominated this past year, and the league is finally starting to take notice.
Headed into this Game 4 the Nuggets made different switches to their lineups. They promoted Monte Morris to starting point guard. Rookie Facu Campazzo returned to his role off the bench. Will Barton saw a massive increase in minutes coming off his injury. The Nuggets were playing at home in Pepsi Center on Sunday night trying to prevent a sweep. The Nuggets fan fully believed in their team and many members of the media chose the Nuggets to prevail in Game 4. The only issue was nobody told the Phoenix Suns and that’s how they played. Here are the Three largest takeaways to the Suns sweep in Game 4.
Any list that wouldn’t include Paul as the first reason would automatically be invalid. Paul was nothing short of magnificent. The future hall of fame point guard had a night for the ages. Paul has only been to the conference finals one other time in his career. Paul has carried the mentality of wanting to return. This can easily be seen in his play. Paul has been battling injuries throughout the playoffs. However, watching Paul play, it would be difficult to even notice.
What sticks out most about Paul has been his leadership. Paul has always been a vocal leader. He displayed this by constantly being involved in every timeout and huddle. When off the court Paul could be seen cheering on his teammates and offering advice. On the court, Paul was an offensive menace. Paul became the oldest player in NBA history with a 35 plus point performance on over 70% shooting. The majority of the list includes tall players and yet Paul stands at the top. Paul had his highest-scoring production since 2018 scoring 37 points. He was extremely efficient shooting 14-of-19 from the floor. Paul’s baskets came at the most crucial times in the game.
The Nuggets tried to force a comeback. However, they would always be quickly halted by a Chris Paul basket on the opposite end. Paul was also extremely efficient in running the Phoenix offense. Paul finished the series on a ridiculous 41-3 assist to turnover ratio. In the final game of the series, Paul was so impressive head coach declared that he might be the greatest point guard of all time.
Early Jokic Exit
Nikola Jokic has had a magnificent season for the ages. Jokic continued that success in Game 3. Last game Jokic was crowned as the NBA MVP. He backed it up with a legendary 32-20-10 performance that led to a loss. Headed into Game 4 the MVP was expected to continue to put up dominant numbers. This was very much expected because if Jokic does not perform, Denver doesn’t win.
Jokic had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists while still in the 3rd quarter. However, that is where his night would end. In a move that Jokic described as “trying to change the momentum of the game.” Jokic attempted a steal and accidentally hit Cam Payne with a hard foul. This lead to Devin Booker and multiple members of the Suns sprinting towards the MVP. Multiple players had to hold Booker and Jokic back before they were ultimately broken up. There was no bad blood between the MVP and the other team as he apologized to Payne during the break. However, in a shockingly questionable move, Jokic was ejected with a flagrant 2 decision by the refs.
Jokic became the second MVP in the past 25 years to be ejected in a playoff game. The other was Stephen Curry in 2016. Jokic became the only MVP to be ejected in his final game of the year. Although the season did not end the way he wanted, the current MVP had a positive outlook. Jokic discussed how proud of his team he was in the post-game press conference. Staying at he was proud of the success they had during this year. Although his season didn’t end in the way he wanted, Jokic finished on the bright side of NBA history with an excellent year.
The Suns are legit
Phoenix became the first team to advance to the conference finals yesterday. This will be their first appearance since 2010 when they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers. The support and love the Suns have received from Phoenix has been unmatched. In recent years there was a discussion of moving the team. Now a couple of years later the Suns’ stars were greeted by a crowd of fans waiting for their return. This love has been well deserved. Phoenix has been excellent all year. Although, their best basketball has been these past couple of weeks.
The Suns are hitting their stride at the perfect time winning their 7 most recent games. What is most impressive about these recent wins is the dominance displayed in them. Phoenix has won their last 7 games by a 16.3 margin. The Suns are the hottest team in the NBA. In a year Phoenix has gone from a lottery team to 8 games away from a championship. By securing the sweep, the Suns will get a much-needed week of rest. In this time they can watch their future opponents play, prepare, and regain their health.
The Suns are in the driver’s seat of their destiny and it can easily end with a title in Phoenix. The Suns will see action in the Western Conference Finals in the winner of the Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Clippers series.