NBA Basketball

125
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Phoenix 28 35 33 29 125
Denver 22 33 28 35 118
118
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0020:00 ET6:00 PM CT23:00 , June 13, 2021
Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 18,290

Suns on verge of sweeping Nuggets, MVP

According to STATS
According to STATS

Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets

  1. The Suns have outscored the Nuggets by 56 points so far this series after losing two of three to the Nuggets in the regular season. That is Phoenix's largest combined point differential over the first three games of a postseason series all-time.
  2. The Suns have swept only two best-of-7 series in team history (2010 vs. SA, 2005 vs. Mem). They have won six straight games since dropping two of the first three to the Lakers, tied for the longest playoff winning streak in team history (also won six straight in 2010).
  3. The Nuggets have only been swept in a best-of-7 series once in team history (2008 vs. LAL). Denver has shot 49.7% from the field in their four wins these playoffs, including 46.5% from distance, but have shot just 42.5% overall and 32.4% from deep in five losses.
  4. Nikola Jokic is averaging 26.0 points and 14.0 rebounds per game this series. He is the first player to average 25.0+ PPG and 14.0+ RPG while down 3-0 in a playoff series since Tim Duncan in 2001 versus the Lakers (Duncan and the Spurs lost Game 4).
  5. Devin Booker scored 28 points in Game 3 and Chris Paul chipped in 27. They are the second Suns guard duo to each score 27+ points in a playoff game, joining Steve Nash (33) and Jason Richardson (27) in Game 1 of the 2010 West Semis vs. San Antonio.
  6. The Suns have outshot the Nuggets from the floor, from the three-point line and from the free-throw line in every game this series. Phoenix has outshot its opponent in 53 games this season (including postseason) -- only the Bucks have done so more times (55).
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Nikola Jokic received his MVP award before Game 3 on Friday night, an official recognition that the Denver Nuggets star is the top player in the NBA this season.

The Phoenix Suns promptly showed they are the better team with a convincing win following the ceremony. Phoenix now leads the series 3-0 and has a chance to close out the Nuggets with a win in Game 4 in Denver on Sunday night.

"This is the first time I've been up 3-0 in a series," Suns guard Chris Paul said after the 116-102 win on Friday night. "Even though it's 3-0, as long as that team is being led by Mike Malone that team over there is going to keep fighting."

Malone, the Nuggets' head coach, has an uphill battle on his hands. Not only is his team in a hole that no other team has crawled out of -- 142 teams have held a 3-0 lead in a series and all have advanced -- none of the games in this series have been close.

But Malone isn't ready to concede yet.

"I know for myself, I can't speak for anyone else, the last thing I want to see is the Phoenix Suns pushing a broom across our court after Game 4," Malone said. "We have had a tremendous season. Tremendous. I said going into this year you can't judge a season by the end result. We got to the Western Conference finals last year, certain things can happen, but we can have a better season this year but not get as far."

The problem for Denver is the talent level. The Phoenix backcourt duo of Paul and Devin Booker has completely outplayed the Nuggets' guards. Paul is averaging 17.7 points and 11.3 assists, and Booker is averaging 23.6 points in the series.

Denver was able to overcome the loss of Jamal Murray against Portland in the first round but the rotation of Facu Campazzo, Austin Rivers and Monte Morris has been overmatched against the Suns. Those three came up big in the six games against the Trail Blazers but have been neutralized by Phoenix.

Jokic has done what he can, including an historic performance after receiving his award. His 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists put him in lofty company, joining Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to have at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in an NBA playoff game.

"He's carrying us," Morris said of Jokic. "We've got to help him."

The Suns have held everyone around Jokic in check. Aaron Gordon struggled Friday night with just four points on 2-of-10 shooting and Michael Porter Jr. has averaged just 13.7 points in the series.

Phoenix is not satisfied despite the 3-0 lead and a six-game playoff winning streak.

"We've experienced one (closeout game) already," Booker said. "Knowing those guys aren't going to give up. They've got the MVP of the league over there, they're well coached by Mike Malone and they've got some players that play very hard. Nobody ever wants their season to end, so we know they're going to give it their shot and we're prepared for that."

--Field Level Media

Updated June 13, 2021

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