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Suns Paul big again as rout Nuggets

Suns Paul big again as  rout Nuggets

nuggets vs suns, Nuggets

Suns Paul big again as rout Nuggets

Chris Paul picks apart Nuggets once again, as Suns roll in Game 2 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700-PHOENIX — Chris Paul is a 36-year-old man who can still put together an NBA point guard's version of a virtuoso performance: Fifteen assists, no turnovers and …

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Rain showers this morning with some sunshine during the afternoon hours. High around 65F. Winds W at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 40%..

Partly cloudy early followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low 42F. SW winds shifting to E at 10 to 15 mph.

Updated: June 10, 2021 @ 6:35 am

Students with the University of Idaho’s College of Art and Architecture are knee-deep in another community project after updating the exterior of One World Cafe in downtown Moscow, this time designing and building an outdoor classroom for Moscow’s McDonald Elementary.

EUGENE, Ore. — Competing 45 minutes from his hometown, Zack Short of the University of Idaho placed sixth Wednesday as the rain-splashed NCAA outdoor track and field got underway at Hayward Field.

Chuck Winder had it right when he recently said the so-called Idaho Freedom Foundation, or IFF, was “one of the biggest threats we have to our democracy in our state.” Winder, a Republican and president pro tem of the Idaho Senate, had just witnessed the disruptive role played by the foundat…

For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, local seniors are enjoying a free lunch — face-to-face — at the Pullman and Moscow senior centers.

Idaho’s governor was on hand Wednesday to help break ground for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ 140,000-square-foot printed circuit board factory in Moscow, welcoming one of the few new plants of its kind to be built in the United States in the last decade.

Associated PressSuns guard Chris Paul is defended by the Nuggets’ Facundo Campazzo during the first half of Wednesday’s Game 2 of their playoff series in Phoenix. The Suns won 123-98 and now lead the series 2-0.

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, high fives forward Dario Saric after a three pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker tries to save a loose ball as he collides with Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Officials separate Phoenix Suns players and Denver Nuggets players during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Former olympic swimmer Michael Phelps watches the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets 118during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) passes around Denver Nuggets forward JaMychal Green (0) during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul shoots as Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (7) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric, left, and Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap chase down a loose ball during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Associated PressSuns guard Chris Paul is defended by the Nuggets’ Facundo Campazzo during the first half of Wednesday’s Game 2 of their playoff series in Phoenix. The Suns won 123-98 and now lead the series 2-0.

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric (20) dunks against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, high fives forward Dario Saric after a three pointer against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker tries to save a loose ball as he collides with Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Officials separate Phoenix Suns players and Denver Nuggets players during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Former olympic swimmer Michael Phelps watches the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets 118during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) passes around Denver Nuggets forward JaMychal Green (0) during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul shoots as Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (7) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric, left, and Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap chase down a loose ball during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Chris Paul is a 36-year-old man who can still put together an NBA point guard’s version of a virtuoso performance: Fifteen assists, no turnovers and it led to another blowout playoff victory for his rolling Phoenix Suns.

“I feel good,” Paul said. “I feel really good.”

Apparently so.

The ageless Paul added 17 points, Devin Booker had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Phoenix routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Mikal Bridges added 16 points for the balanced Suns in their fifth straight victory.

Paul was particularly impressive and it appears his ailing right shoulder — which greatly limited his play against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round — isn’t much of a problem anymore. The 11-time All-Star had 21 points and 11 assists in Game 1.

Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, a day after getting the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. But the Nuggets couldn’t find anyone else to score consistently, leaving them reeling going back to Denver for Game 3 on Friday night.

“This was an embarrassing performance for myself all the way to the last player,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “We are walking out here with our heads held down and rightfully so. There was a reason that their crowd was yelling ”Suns in four!” and they are calling for a sweep because if we play like this in Denver, this is going to be a really quick series.”

The Suns had a 10-point halftime lead Wednesday and Jae Crowder added a pair of 3-pointers early in the third to make it 60-43. Phoenix took an 86-67 advantage into the fourth. The Suns led by 31 in the final quarter as they relentlessly pushed the ball even as the lead built.

“It’s the NBA — crazy things can happen no matter how big of a lead you have,” Suns forward Torrey Craig said.

Crowder had another good night as the Suns’ long-range shooter and enforcer. He and Denver’s Aaron Gordon were each called for a technical foul after they exchanged words and shoves midway through the third. On the next possession, Crowder coaxed Gordon into committing an offensive foul, much to the delight of the 16,529 at Phoenix Suns Arena.

“It was one of our better defensive halves of the year against a good offensive team,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “We were relentless with our effort, our communication and coverages.”

Crowder said he isn’t seeking to be the team’s enforcer but the moments keep finding him. He joked that he’s already given to much money to the NBA in the form of fines during this postseason.

“I got to be smart and protect my money a little,” he added grinning.

Paul pushed the sellout crowd into a frenzy in the fourth, throwing his 15th assist to Craig after criss-crossing around helpless Denver forward Paul Millsap. Paul then hit a pair of 3-pointers and the celebration was on in the desert with the Suns rolling in their first playoff appearance in 11 seasons.

Phoenix took a 52-42 halftime lead after a sloppy first half where both teams struggled to generate offense. Denver was shaky with its long range shooting, making just 1 of 13 3-pointers in the first quarter.

Booker had 13 points before the break. Jokic countered with 15 points.

HURTING NUGGETS

Some of Denver’s better players are dealing with injuries, including forward Michael Porter Jr. (back) and guard Will Barton (hamstring). Both were listed on the injury report.

Porter started and played 27 minutes, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds but shot just 3 of 13 from the field. Barton played for the first time in about six weeks, entering the game late in the first quarter. He played 16 minutes and had 10 points and was also called for a technical foul in the third.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Guards PJ Dozier (right adductor strain) and Jamal Murray (left ACL surgery) didn’t play. … Millsap had 11 points and six rebounds.

Suns: Forward Abdel Nader (right knee arthroscopy) didn’t play. … The Suns had a 52-46 rebounding advantage.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Paul big again as Suns rout Nuggets Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700-Phoenix's star point guard delivers 15-plus assists without a turnover for a playoff-record third time.

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Chris Paul picks apart Nuggets once again, as Suns roll in Game 2

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It was all smiles for the Suns after a Game 2 blowout in Phoenix.

Right at this moment, déjà vu from another Chris Paul takeover flooded Phoenix Suns Arena in what might be viewed as the crescendo to a 123-98 win on Wednesday over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Surveying, diagnosing, and then attacking all night, Paul picked apart Denver’s weaknesses for the second-straight game in this series to finish with 17 points and 15 assists with no turnovers as the catalyst to the Suns burning the Nuggets for their most lopsided loss of the season; a defeat that coach Michael Malone called “embarrassing.”

“I saw one team that wanted to be here, and played with a purpose and urgency, and one team that did not want to be here, and played with no urgency,” Malone said. “That’s why we got our ass kicked.”

Let’s not diminish Paul’s role in that, or Phoenix’s defense, which gave Denver fits.

Chis Paul scores 17 points to go with 15 assists with zero turnovers to lead the Suns to a win.

As 2020-21 Kia MVP Nikola Jokic argued for a foul with 3:30 left in the third quarter, Jae Crowder snatched a rebound and led a 5-on-4 fast break that Phoenix converted into to a Mikal Bridges dunk that extended its lead to 20 points.

The most fight Denver showed all game came in the form of Aaron Gordon’s shoving match with Crowder at the 7:24 mark of the third quarter that drew a double-technical foul.

That’s the type of night Phoenix forced on the Nuggets.

“It was a team effort once again,” Paul said in his postgame interview on the court. “We knew how important this game was. We just wanted to maintain homecourt advantage and get the win.”

Mission accomplished.

Paul: 'We’ve got an unbelievable team'

Now, Denver needs to find a way to pick up the pieces down 2-0 going into Friday’s Game 3 at Ball Arena because it’s painfully clear that Jokic can’t do it all alone.

Jokic scored a game-high 24 points to go with 13 rebounds and six assists, but the Denver supporting cast didn’t do much supporting.

Second-leading scorer Michael Porter Jr. suffered a back injury in Game 1 that clearly affected his performance in Game 2. Porter shot 3-for-13 from the field and 2-for-9 from range for 11 points, ending the game a team-worst minus-26, as Paul and the Suns pounced at attacking the forward’s limited mobility.

As injured star guard Jamal Murray scowled from the bench in street clothes with an ice pack over his left knee, Paul dished more assists than the entire Denver starting lineup combined. Phoenix exposed the talent discrepancy between the teams in the backcourt. Porter and starting Nuggets guards Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo combined to shoot 6-for-25 from the floor and 4-for-18 from 3-point range.

Of Denver’s starters, just Jokic and Porter scored in double figures, while six Suns produced at least 10 points; Devin Booker poured in a team-high 18 points.

Denver committed 11 turnovers that Phoenix converted into 12 points as they outscored the Nuggets 14-8 on the break.

“It’s contagious, and it’s been that way from the start,” Booker said. “You definitely don’t want to be the guy that’s out there not defending. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb.”

Game Recap: Suns 123, Nuggets 98

Sort of the way Paul’s precision performances have shined through over the last two games with the guard, at 36 years old, recording double-doubles in Games 1 and 2.

Game 2 marked Paul’s third playoff outing with 15-plus assists and no turnovers, which registers as the most such games in NBA history. Paul also passed Jerry West for 14th on the all-time playoff assist list in Game 2, and now has dished 974 assists in the playoffs. Paul is just 13 assists away from tying Isiah Thomas for 13th in league annals.

Over the last three games, Paul has carved up opponents for 38 assists with just two turnovers.

“Just reading the game man. Just finding open guys, picking my spots,” Paul said. “We’ve got an unbelievable team in the way that we’ve got shooters.”

Paul’s ability to consistently find them will ultimately decide this series. Surrounded by dead-eye shooters in Booker and Crowder (15 points), Paul makes a habit of involving the rest of the Suns such as Mikal Bridges (16 points) and Deandre Ayton (15 points, 10 rebounds) as early as possible, sometimes sacrificing his own offensive game in the process.

Through the first three quarters, Paul had scored only 9 points, while dishing 13 assists.

Inside the NBA: Denver's 'embarrassing' Game 2 loss

Denver clearly can’t lean on such a strong supporting cast alongside MVP Jokic.

Will Barton returned to action for the first time since Apr. 23 and provided a solid spark on restricted minutes (10 points in 16 minutes). Perhaps Malone reinserts Barton into the starting lineup for Game 3. Barton started in 52 games during the regular season.

If Porter isn’t sufficiently healthy for Game 3, Denver definitely needs a supplement Jokic’s scoring. Perhaps players such as Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green, and Monte Morris see increased minutes moving forward as well.

Porter is shooting 35% from the field and 29% from 3-point range so far this series.

Either way, Paul expects a “high energy game” Friday in Denver.

“But we’ve been a really good road team all season,” he said.

It’s not difficult to tell why.

Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.


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– June 10, 2021
nuggets vs suns, Nuggets

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