"They just outplayed us," Nikola Jokic said after the Nuggets 98-123 Game 2 loss to the Suns.
"They were a much, much better team. They were aggressive, making shots, finding open looks and had a couple of big offensive rebounds. They were the better team."
That pretty much sums it up. Led by their starters, who scored outscored their counterparts 77-50, the Suns had everything clicking for them in front of their home crowd in Phoenix.
Nikola Jokic tonight:- StatMuse (@statmuse) June 10, 2021
Rest of Nuggets starters combined:
4 AST pic.twitter.com/Q6V1IR3Zsh
Chris Paul, who took over from his dominant fourth quarter in Game 1, was the biggest weapon in Game 2. Playing 31 minutes, he finished with his second consecutive double-double of 17 points and 15 assists while not committing a single turnover.
The Suns led by as many as 31 and were in complete control of the game, especially in the second half.
"I felt we quit tonight," a disappointed Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said.
"We had no juice, no energy, no passion, no fight, no urgency, no grit."- Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 10, 2021
Michael Malone after Nuggets fall 123-98 to Suns in Game 2 pic.twitter.com/vcVo1RtveI
Calling their performance 'embarrassing', he said, "There's a reason their crowd is yelling Suns in four."
"I wish we can make every shot," the recently crowned league MVP said when asked what he could change from Game 2.
There's a lot of truth in Jokic's statement. At halftime, despite shooting 4-of-22 from beyond the arc, the Nuggets were only down 10 (52-42). However, the Suns didn't let up in the second half and the Nuggets simply couldn't keep up.
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 wasn't as harsh but stressed the need to change things up, as the series shifts to Denver for Games 3 and 4.
"We need to be aggressive. We need to hit first, just to change the rhythm of the game," Jokic said.
Whatever those changes are, the Nuggets have just the one day off to make it as both teams will suit once again on Friday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET for Game 3.
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