We've got a barbecue chicken alert folks!
Your Phoenix Suns absolutely roasted the visiting Denver Nuggets and their recently crowned MVP Nikola Jokic, spoiling any inklings of a celebratory party for the Nuggs after news broke of Jokic’s award Tuesday.
The Serbian giant may have provided the most value to his team throughout the course of the 2020-21 season, but no singular man’s efforts could’ve trumped the team chemistry and spirit Phoenix played with on Wednesday night.
It was an all-out explosion of heart, camaraderie and fan-sparked intensity, and the Suns — guided by Chris Paul’s ball-controlling expertise ran roughshod all over Jokic & company’s deflated squad.
Here are the best quotes from the Valley Boyz following the emphatic statement victory:
On Chris Paul’s resurgence from his first round shoulder injury.
“I feel like he’s back. We knew when there wasn’t anything structural wrong with it that all he needed was time. He got some time. I know he’s doing around the clock treatment like always.
I can tell he’s back and he’s feeling it.”
On his team’s defensive effort
“We’ve been preaching that all season. I think our versatility, and our passion and holding each other accountable — we just want to defend. We know that if we defend, we can get out in transition and everything will happen how it’s supposed to on the offensive end.”
On growth with starting five that’s played together more than any other lineup league-wide this season:
“I feel like we’ve just gotten better in every category to be honest. I think that just came with time, and getting put in the fire. We were a brand new team to begin the season, and we had some hiccups, some learning lessons that we came in and stressed to not let happen again. That’s been the name of the game for us the whole season.”
On Paul’s 4th quarter heroics:
“It’s really the whole entire game, I think the 4th quarter he can kick it up a notch. Just his pace, his ability to control the game. Even when he’s not scoring the ball — obviously 15 assists, zero turnovers is unheard of but for Chris Paul it’s a thing that he does and makes look normal. Just controlling the game in all aspects. Those 4th quarters are big for us — you come out and put a team away like that, you get extra rest which is very important at this point in the season.”
On his team’s struggles early in his career, and ascension to the league’s top shelf:
“It’s hard to put into words. Even Deandre will come up to me and be like ‘man we’ve seen it when it was...’ and I’ll tell him ‘I’ve seen it before you were here also.’
“It has been a long time but I wouldn’t change the path, I wouldn’t change what we went through as an organization for anything. That’s part of the story and makes these moments that much better, and not take anything for granted.”
On the crowd’s energy, including a huge wave train that streamed through the arena during the fourth:
“I mean we feel ‘em. We appreciate those guys, and they’re doing a hell of a job making it tough to come in a get a win off of us. We’re going to need them the rest of the way. It’s definitely rocking inside of our building each and every game.”
On the Nuggets’ three-point woes:
“Honestly, we felt like we gave them some looks we didn’t want to. They got a couple transition looks that weren’t contested, and that’s not how we want to play our defense. We just wanted to tighten that up, we want to contest every shot. Obviously, they’re very capable of making shots, making threes especially — they have the personnel, it was just a tough night for them, but we wanted to contest everything. As long as we get a contest every shot, the odds are in our favor.”
On being the team’s enforcer:
“Honestly it just comes at me. I don’t seek it. Other teams just try to be physical with me and try to get me riled up. I don’t know if they know I like that style of play. I like to trash talk, I like all of that because it definitely gets me going. I think my team definitely feeds off of the energy of it.
But I’ve got to be smart, I can’t keep biting the bait and giving money back to the league. I’ve given a lot of money back in these playoffs. I’ve got to protect myself and protect my money.”
On the insanity of the crowd:
“Yeah it’s fun. I remember being in a timeout, and I think a guy took his shirt off and they all just went nuts. We all just looked at each other and looked around and were shaking our heads like ‘this is wild.’ They definitely give us energy and that extra edge to play even harder. I can’t even express in words what those fans mean to us.”
On the starting lineup’s dominance:
“They have great chemistry out there together, you can see it. The ball moves, everybody knows their spots and shots. Jae knows where he’s gonna get his shots. Book and Chris can get to their spots and Kal and DA. Their chemistry is unreal, and that helps the bench when we come in. They set a standard so high that when we come in we have to play at a high level as well. It trickles down to the whole team.”
On keeping a next play mentality:
“For me, I don’t care what happens, I’m going to continue to play hard and give effort. I miss a tip-in, I miss a shot, I know how important it is to get back on defense to try to get those possessions cause it’s the playoffs. Every possession matters. Just trying to not take anything for granted and leave it all out on the floor.
On his relationship with his former team:
“I still have relationships with those guys. Michael Porter Jr. is one of my great friends, we talk almost every day. It’s a brotherhood with Jamal. Everyone in the organization, I still love all those guys. We came here, we got two games at home, now we’re trying to go on the road, and it’s gonna be tough. I think they have a full capacity crowd so it’s gonna be a hostile environment with the altitude. We just have to stay sharp mentally and go get a win.”