Nikola Jokic’s triple-double leads Nuggets to series-clinching win over Suns


PHOENIX — Nikola Jokic scored 32 factors in one other triple-double, Jamal Murray added 26 and the Denver Nuggets superior to the Western Convention finals for the primary time since 2020 by beating the short-handed Phoenix Suns 125-100 in Sport 6 on Thursday night time.

Denver’s sequence victory comes two seasons after the Nuggets have been embarrassed in a second-round postseason sweep by the Suns.

This time, it was the Suns getting blown out on their dwelling flooring to finish the season for the second straight yr.

The Nuggets will play within the convention finals for the primary time since they misplaced to the Lakers in 5 video games within the Florida bubble through the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve by no means reached the NBA Finals.

The highest-seeded Nuggets used a 23-2 run through the latter a part of the primary quarter to take a 44-26 lead and by no means appeared again.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — averaging 9.5 factors within the playoffs — scored 17 within the first quarter whereas Jokic added 14.

Caldwell-Pope completed with 21 factors. Jokic shot 13 of 18 from the sphere and added 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Nikola Jokic, who scored 32 points, shoots a jumper during the Nuggets' 125-100 series-clinching Game 6 win over the Suns.
Nikola Jokic, who scored 32 factors, shoots a jumper through the Nuggets’ 125-100 series-clinching Sport 6 win over the Suns.
USA TODAY Sports activities through Reuters Con

Denver’s offensive onslaught continued within the second because the lead grew to 81-51 by halftime, resulting in boos from Suns followers as gamers made their method to the locker room. The second half was primarily an afterthought.

Cameron Payne scored 31 factors for Phoenix, hitting 7 of 9 3-pointers. Kevin Durant added 23.

The Suns have been enjoying with out injured starters Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul. Ayton sustained a rib contusion in Tuesday’s Sport 5 whereas Paul has been out the previous 4 video games with a strained left groin.

Phoenix was eradicated within the Western Convention semifinals at dwelling for a second straight season regardless of a blockbuster commerce deadline deal for Durant, a 13-time All-Star and one of many sport’s most prolific scorers.

Kevin Durant wears a dejected expression during the Suns' season-ending loss.
Kevin Durant wears a dejected expression through the Suns’ season-ending loss.
Getty Pictures

The 34-year-old had some good moments within the playoffs, however made simply 1 of his first 10 photographs on Thursday because the Suns fell into an enormous gap.

Suns guard Devin Booker was sensible in a lot of the postseason, averaging 36 factors per sport on 60% earlier than Sport 6. However the three-time All-Star completed with simply 12 factors on Thursday.

The house staff received the primary 5 video games of the sequence till the Nuggets broke by means of in Sport 6.

Deja vu

For the Suns, the loss was eerily much like Sport 7 of final yr’s Western Convention semifinals.

Phoenix, with the NBA’s greatest report, fell behind Dallas by 30 factors by halftime and ended up shedding 123-90 to finish its season.

Within the shot clock period, the house staff has trailed by 30-plus factors in a possible playoff elimination sport simply thrice. Phoenix is now answerable for two of them. The opposite was the Bucks in 2015.


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