Denver Nuggets Coach Mike Malone accused his team of not bringing his defense to the desert after losing Games 3 and 4 to the suns in Phoenix.
The Suns seemed to have packed even lighter on their trek into the mountains, leaving behind defense, offense, and an extra supply of poise.
It’s hard to tell how much to credit the Nuggets’ 118-102 shellacking rating because the Suns came out sloppy, despite it being the all-important Game 5 of the seven-game series, which Denver is now leading, 3-2. Name a roaring stat for the first 12 minutes and the Nuggets dominated. Fastbreak score, 17-8. Offensive rebounds, 6-1. Second chance points, 6-2, and the only reason there isn’t a greater disparity is because the Nuggets missed multiple opportunities on the same possession.
“Play with desperation,” said the All-Star center Nikola Jokic. “This is how we played the first quarter.”
Jokic led the ferocity, hitting his 10th career triple-double playoff game and rushing forward past Wilt Chamberlain for the all-time record by a center, but it was Denver’s well-balanced offense that overwhelmed Phoenix. Michael Porter Jr. He was responsible for the opening rush, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the period, mostly from transition 3s as the Suns – specifically Booker – were slow to come back and find him. Jamal Murray, who tried so hard to capture Phoenix, made a more subtle and effective effort. Bruce Brown added 25 off the bench.
While the Suns rallied in the second quarter to cut the lead to three at halftime – and almost tied it up in the middle of the field with a Devin Booker It was a pretty late mark – the Nuggets simply walked out of the locker room for the second time, bringing their tally to 21.
If there are two constants in the series no matter where the two teams meet, it’s that Booker has been a highly efficient scoring machine and that the home team’s reserves have outperformed their counterparts. Only one of those constants survived on Tuesday night.
Booker’s less than stellar first performance of the series (28 points on 42 percent shooting) was the first time he let his frustration boil over, something that had plagued him—and undermined the Suns—in previous years. He was not the receiver of one of the game’s three technical fouls, but was clearly caught in one-on-one fights with both Michael Porter Jr. and Bruce Brown.
“You have to keep your balance on my production level,” said Suns coach Monty Williams. “I just felt we didn’t have the mental capacity to keep our balance.”
The most surprising development is that the Nuggets didn’t focus on trapping the ball from Poker’s hands and only pooled it selectively or Kevin Durant However holding them both relatively close, Durant needed 24 shots to score 26 points.
But it’s official: We’ve now entered the Chippy Zone of this series. Extracurriculars began in the opening minutes with Booker blood Kentavius Caldwell Pope Flange with attachment. Murray W Landry Shammit He had a few chosen words, and Murray made a technical foul for mocking him at one point. networks Teammates Brown and Durant received compensation for the Ts after the Nuggets tried to sneak an impromptu rally near the Suns bench.
The night started cheerfully. Jokic, who was awarded a technical fine and a $25,000 fine for shoving Suns owner Mat Isbhia into his seat on the court when he did not give up the ball after it sailed into the stands in the first inning of Game 4, saw Ishbia sit on the court as he finished his run. Warming up before the game. Jokic handed him the ball he was calling, and the two exchanged quick laughs and hugs.
“I was hoping he’d pay the fine,” Jokic quipped afterwards.
Don’t look for any details when the series resumes on Thursday. In three games in Denver, the Nuggets held the Suns to an average of 99 points — or 26 fewer than the two games in Phoenix.
“It’s just a mentality,” Jokic said. “We know the moves, the calls, the handshakes. It’s going to be about who’s going to be aggressive. I think it comes down to that.”
handshake? This is one hell of a scouting report.
Rick Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He has previously written for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine, and The Washington Post and has written two books, “Rebound,” about NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with the onset of Parkinson’s disease, and “Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.” He also has a daily podcast, “On The Ball with Ric Bucher”. Follow him on Twitter @Rick Bucher.
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