Nuggets WIN Game 1 of Western Conference semifinals vs. Suns 125-107, behind 34 points


Nuggets WIN Game 1 of Western Conference semifinals vs. Suns, as Jamal Murray’s team-leading 34 points propel Denver to 125-107 victory at home

  • Denver trailed by one after a strong first quarter from Kevin Durant and Co.
  • But they grabbed control of the game in the second quarter and eased to a win
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

The Nuggets got off to a strong start in the Western Conference semifinals by defending homecourt on Saturday night, as they beat the visiting Suns 125-107.

Phoenix led by one after the first quarter, but was outscored 37-19 in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing by 17.

Leading 106-95 with 7:40 remaining, the Nuggets went on a 14-0 run to put away the game. Denver led by as much as 25 and improved to 38-7 at home through the regular season and playoffs.

Jamal Murray’s 34 points led the way for Denver, while MVP candidate Nikola Jokic had 24 points, 19 rebounds and five assists and Aaron Gordon added 23.

Jamal Murray led all scorers with 34 points and added nine assists for good measure

Jamal Murray led all scorers with 34 points and added nine assists for good measure

Kevin Durant had an ultra-efficient 29 points but it wasn't enough for his team to win

Kevin Durant had an ultra-efficient 29 points but it wasn’t enough for his team to win

‘He´s a bad man,’ Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of his star point guard. ‘Jamal Murray lives for this.’

‘I thought that they were just more physical, played with more force,’ Suns coach Monty Williams said.

‘We´ve got to regroup and do a much better job of playing with pace on offense.’

For the Suns, Kevin Durant had an extremely efficient 29 points on 12-19 shooting, while Devin Booker had 27 as well. 

But only two other players on the team – Chris Paul (11 points) and Deandre Ayton (14) reached double-digit points as the team’s paper-thin depth was exposed.

The difference on Saturday was the three-point line, where the Nuggets outscored the Suns by a 48-21 margin. That and turnovers, where the Suns had 16, including seven by Durant.

‘I´ve got to be way more careful with the ball,’ Durant said. ‘I’ve to look to either shoot the ball or make the correct pass. … I dang got near half our turnovers. We´ll be fine. I think we’ve just got to play with confidence, shoot with confidence and see what happens next game.’

This is a different sort of playoff series than two years ago, when the Suns swept the Nuggets in the second round. Back then, Denver was without Murray after he tore his ACL.

Now healthy, Murray is flashing his 2020 form inside the NBA bubble that helped Denver advance to the Western Conference finals.

Meanwhile, the Suns are looking a bit more vulnerable than they did during their 2021 Finals run. 

Nikola Jokic had 24 points, 19 rebounds and five assists for the Nuggets in their home win

Nikola Jokic had 24 points, 19 rebounds and five assists for the Nuggets in their home win

And Devin Booker scored 27 points along with eight assists in a strong road performance

And Devin Booker scored 27 points along with eight assists in a strong road performance

Phoenix went 8-0 with Durant after he joined the team via trade from the Nets (and missed three weeks with injury), but haven’t been tested much to date.

They beat the Clippers in five games in the first round, but Paul George didn’t play at all and Kawhi Leonard sat the last three games of the series with a knee injury.

He was later diagnosed with a torn meniscus. 

Game 2 will be in Denver again on Monday before the series moves to Phoenix. 



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