Defending NBA champions with a player in the GOAT conversation? Gone.
NBA MVP? Gone in a sweep — and gone from the last game.
Any more questions about these Phoenix Suns?
There shouldn’t be as they swept the shorthanded Denver Nuggets out of the playoffs with a 125-118 Game 4 win. Then it was time to dance.
LMAOOO MY TEAM LIT 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/uf4bTB27LP
— 𝘼𝙖𝙧𝙮𝙖𝙣🌤 WCF (@AaryanS19) June 14, 2021
Phoenix now awaits the Jazz and Clippers series winner, which the Jazz lead 2-1.
The headlines out of Game 4 will focus on how Nicola Jokic’s ejection doomed the Nuggets in a closeout game.
However, the reality was that Chris Paul and Devin Booker brought their best games on Sunday, the Suns were leading when Jokic was ejected, and this looked like the end of the series even before the headline play.
Paul’s masterful playoff performance continued as he played like a 36-year-old who wanted some extra time off before the next round — he had 37 points on 14-of-19 shooting. Devin Booker added 34 points.
It was all too much for the Nuggets, whose defense struggled to contain the Suns’ guards all series long. Mikal Bridges added 14, but this was the Paul and Booker show, and the Nuggets could not slow down either of them consistently in the pick-and-roll.
Jokic’s moment of frustration all but killed the dreams of a Denver comeback.
Jokic has a history of letting his emotions get the better of him and taking frustration fouls. In this case, he felt he was fouled on the play before with no call — not to mention his team being behind in a close-out game — and he wound up and swung to knock the ball out of Cameron Payne‘s hands. Jokic also hit Payne in the face on the play.
Jokic got ejected after this hard foul on Payne 😯 pic.twitter.com/EvG1Dfvuub
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 14, 2021
Jokic was ejected after the play was reviewed.
“I wanted to change the rhythm of the game, I wanted to give us some energy,” Jokic said after the game via the Associated Press. “I tried to make a hard foul. Did I hit him? I didn’t know. I say sorry if I did because I didn’t want to injure him or hit him in the head on purpose.”
After the ejection, the Nuggets did make a run, and others stepped up. Will Barton finished with 25 points, Michael Porter Jr. 20, and Monte Morris 19. As they have all series, the Nuggets missed the playmaking of Jamal Murray, the All-Star point guard who tore his ACL late in the regular season, but Denver’s backup guards did what they could.
However, every time the Nuggets made a run, Paul and the Suns had an answer.
Whether it is the Clippers or Jazz, the questions for the Suns will be harder in the next round.
Paul is ready to answer them.