Less than two hours before Saturday night’s playoff series opener, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone spoke about the need for his team to be physical with Kevin Durant. In the opening quarter, the Suns’ star poured through 15 points, but after that, the Nuggets harassed him the rest of the night.
Durant would finish with 29 but just one offensive rebound, as the Suns were toyed with, losing 125-107. “They played more physically and with more force,” Monty Williams said afterward.
Nikola Jokic is an MVP player for sure, but several of his shots were uncontested layups. He’d score 24 and add 19 rebounds, leaving the pre-game questions of whether Deandre Ayton could put up much of a postseason fight in the battle of the bigs.
The Nuggets’ perimeter game filleted the Suns. Jamal Murray poured through 34 points without a hand in the face. “We have to do something a little different to get the ball out of his hands”, Williams lamented. The stats show the Nuggets’ shooting percentage wasn’t great shakes(47.5%), but Denver put up 17 more shots and drilled 16 three-pointers.
“I always believe in us”, Devin Booker said afterward.
Williams said his team needs “emotionally settle down” for game two. Um, yes…
Suns blown out by Nuggets in Game One…