Home court defended.
The Phoenix Suns blew out the Denver Nuggets 123-98 in Game 2, dominating on both ends of the floor led by stars Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
With the series now shifting to Denver, let's take a look at some of the takeaways from an impressive Phoenix performance.
MVP Chris Paul
With the official MVP also on the floor in Nikola Jokic, Chris Paul heard thunderous MVP chants of his own at the free-throw line.
The veteran point guard looks to have shaken off any lingering shoulder soreness, delivering a clinic in Game 2. Paul finished with 17 points, five rebounds and 15 assists on 6-for-10 from the floor and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
The 15 assists came with zero turnovers, giving him 26 assists and just one turnover in the series thus far.
As is customary with Paul, a number of the dimes were of the highlight variety.
This sequence is ART.@CP3 x @dariosaric pic.twitter.com/8JulMeZpuL- Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 10, 2021
The trademark lob.
CP3 lobs it up to Ayton 😨 pic.twitter.com/dzWRnYl8OW- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 10, 2021
Paul did it all in Game 2.
Red hot Suns blitz Nuggets in third again
In Game 1, it was a late third-quarter blitz that sparked the win for Phoenix and their fondness for the third period continued in Game 2.
Leading by 10 points at the half, the roof nearly came off the arena in the third as the Suns' stifling defence and irresistible transition offence blew the Nuggets away.
The Suns outscored the Nuggets 34-25 for the period to open up an 86-67 edge heading to the fourth quarter.
In total, Phoenix have outscored Denver 65-46 across two games in the third.
Ayton foul trouble
Coming off a terrific performance in Game 1, Deandre Ayton found himself in early foul trouble in Game 2.
Picking up his second foul with 7:04 to play in the first quarter, Phoenix head coach Monty Williams trusted his young centre to play eight minutes in the first frame.
In a sign of maturity, Ayton would not pick up another foul for the entire game, finishing with a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double.
It was an ice-cold start to the game for Denver, with the team combining to go 4-for-22 from long range in the first half. Michael Porter Jr. was particularly cold, scoring just two points from eight shot attempts including an 0-for-6 mark from beyond the arc.
The Nuggets shot 4-22 (18.2%) on 3-pt FG attempts in the 1st half of Game 2 vs the Suns tonight.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 10, 2021
That's tied for their 2nd-worst 3-pt shooting half over the last 25 seasons, regular season or playoffs (min. 20 attempts). pic.twitter.com/lyzKlkzTXV
Jokic was the only Denver starter looking likely, with the MVP posting 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting while the other four starters combined for 16 on 7-for-26 from the floor.
Overall, Denver finished 36-for-90 on field goals and 14-for-43 on triples.
Lone hand Joker
The MVP felt like the only one capable of scoring in this one, tallying 24 points and 13 rebounds while dishing out six assists.
In continuing the theme from above, the nine made shots from Jokic matched the entire output of the other four starters.
Looking fatigued by the end of the night it's clear Jokic needs help if Denver are to keep the series alive with a win in Game 3.
That help could come in the form of Will Barton, with the key rotation piece returning to the lineup under a minute restriction.
It was a particularly strong start from Barton, who connected on three of his first four shots before finishing with 10 points in 15 minutes.
It was the first time Barton had seen the floor since late April, with the 30-year-old missing the last 20 games with a hamstring injury.
Booker rolls on
In a testament to the impressive depth of the Phoenix roster and high calibre play from role players, the Suns hardly needed a scoring outburst from Booker tonight.
The All-Star guard chipped in with 18 points and 10 rebounds on 14 shots, moving the ball and playing within the offence.
Defence to offence.
Sources: Playoff Book is a MOOD.- Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 10, 2021
… it's us, we're the source pic.twitter.com/Zm2mAVtJHF
D-Book and-one. Count it 🔥 pic.twitter.com/AsEarb8vCV- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) June 10, 2021
As seen above, it was more about moments rather than overall dominance from Booker as an impressive debut postseason run continues.
The series will take just one night off, with Game 3 and 4 set for Ball Arena in Denver.
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