Sometimes the story of a game is written in a fairly short amount of time.
Such was the case Saturday night, when the Phoenix Suns played a second quarter against basically the most charmed possible version of the Denver Nuggets.
Seriously, there isn’t a ton I can say about this game that isn’t overshadowed by that second frame, when the Nuggets outscored the Suns 37-19. The Denver club simply couldn’t seem to miss, particularly Aaron Gordon, who I think played litrally about as well as he is physically, cosmically capable of playing.
This is not to absolve the Suns of responsibility for not playing well. They mostly just played very flat and uninspired basketball in this one outside of a few bright spots. At times it felt like the game was crying out for the Suns to slow the game down and try to create more of an iso contest (as much as some people hate that), but it didn’t happen. At least not in time.
Some people like to blame Denver’s elevation for games like this. As a guy who moved from Phoenix to Denver himself, I don’t personally think it’s as big a deal as people make it out to be, but hey, maybe there’s something to it at least.
The three point discrepency REALLY jumps. The Suns were just 7/23 from downtown in this one. That just isn’t going to get it done most nights in the NBA in this day and age. The Nuggets were a charmed 16/37. That’s just hard to overcome most of the time, when your opponent is that efficient on offense and you just are not.
Kevin Durant had a good game for the Suns. He had 7 turnovers, but he was hyperefficient on offense with 29 points and had 14 rebounds.
KD with the tough finish. pic.twitter.com/0JFxZsIxvh— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 30, 2023
Devin Booker likewise was pretty good on paper, he had 27 points. The bench didn’t really do anything of note, unfortunately. Head coach Monty Williams continues to like Landry Shamet and not like TJ Warren. Will that change going forward? Something to watch.
The Nuggets were lead by Jamal Murray with 34 points, but Gordon’s 23 points on 9/13 shooting somehow felt like the single biggest contributor to their success. Nikola Jokic didn’t even really play as well as he’s capable of, but he still had 24 points and 19 rebounds.
Game one isn’t a decisive contest. Falling behind 1-0 isn’t like falling behind 3-2. The Suns walked through a Game one defeat last round, and hear we are.T
he Suns could realistically look at this contest as an adjustment game, look to win Game 2 and go back to Phoenix with home court advantage stolen.
But they need to tighten up and play with a little more fire in the face of an energized Nuggets team.
Onward and upward. Go Suns.