Phoenix Suns spoil Nikola Jokic’s MVP party, beating Denver Nuggets 116-102


Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns spoiled Nikola Jokic’s MVP celebration with a 116-102 win over Denver Friday night in Game 3 that put The Joker and the rest of the tumbling nuggets on the verge of a quick second-round exit .

Booker scored 28 points and, along with Chris Paul, led a steady offensive attack that countered Jokic’s triple-double of 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.

With their sixth win in a row, the second seeded Suns took the lead 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday in the Ball Arena.

Paul had 27 points, eight assists and three steals for the Suns, who pulled away for the third year in a row after half-time. All five Phoenix starters scored double digits.

They are just one win away from their first trip to the Western Conference Finals since 2009-10 – that was the last time Phoenix reached the playoffs.

Monte Morris scored 21 off the bench for Denver.

The third-placed Nuggets, who made it to the Conference Finals last year, are on the verge of being swept into a playoff series for the first time since the Lakers knocked them out of the first round in 2007-08.

Jokic dedicated his MVP award to his teammates during a lavish pre-game ceremony that coach Michael Malone had hoped would inspire his team, who have lost 17, 25 and now 14 points.

The Nuggets’ first MVP was largely MIA at the start, as the Suns shot down a sizzling 74.46% by a 37:27 margin after a quarter. Jokic scored seven points in the quarter, but none up to the 4:45 mark. He also missed two out of three free throws.

Malone, who accused his team of quitting after a blowout loss in Game 2, said before pointing out that he liked his team’s resilience.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better team that can get off the mat and find a way to get back into the fight and win the fight,” Malone said of his team who defeated two 3-1 deficits in the bubble last year.

He said all Phoenix did by sweeping the desert the first two games was serve. “So now we have to return the favor,” said Malone, “and make a series of it.”

They couldn’t, and now the suns can sweep them straight out of the postseason.


Sonnen: Phoenix led double digits for much of the first half, but went cold in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter, allowing the Nuggets to move to 59-55 at half time. … The Suns shot 50% from both the outside of the arc and the field in the first half, and they made all 11 of their free throws.

Nuggets: The Nuggets missed their first seven shots after half-time and robbed them of the momentum they had taken with a 6-0 run into the break. … Michael Porter Jr., who pinched his back at the start of the series, had another tough time, shooting 5 for 13 off the floor for 15 points. Will Barton added 14 in his second game after a hamstring injury.

Famous fans

Biggest viewers at the Ball Arena since the pandemic began included Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant, guard Dalton Risner and kicker Brandon McManus were not mentioned along with the other two when they were shown on the big screen. But in the second half the cameras came back to him and he put on a show by chugging some beers to cheer.

More headlines from Arizona Sports

Turn on FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

Download the FOX 10 News app for the latest local news

Sign up for FOX 10 email notifications and newsletters

Comments are closed.