Suns at their hottest with Paul setting series alight

At 36, Chris Paul can still put together an NBA point guard's version of a virtuoso performance: 15 assists, no turnovers. And that led to another blowout playoff victory for his rolling Phoenix Suns, who routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-final...

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Friday, June 11, 2021

At 36, Chris Paul can still put together an NBA point guard's version of a virtuoso performance: 15 assists, no turnovers.

And that led to another blowout playoff victory for his rolling Phoenix Suns, who routed the Denver Nuggets 123-98 to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series.

"I feel good,'' said Paul, who finished with 17 points. "I feel really good.''

Devin Booker added 18 points and 10 rebounds while Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, winners of five in a row.

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 the series opener against the Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, a day after getting the Most Valuable Player award. But the Nuggets couldn't find anyone else to score consistently as they head back to Denver for Game Three of the best-of-seven series tomorrow (HK time).

"This was an embarrassing performance,'' Denver coach Michael Malone said. "We are walking out here with our heads held down and rightfully so ... if we play like this in Denver, this is going to be a really quick series.''

"It looks real bad out there," said Jokic, who admitted his side was getting outplayed.

Phoenix took an 86-67 advantage into the fourth quarter, where they led by as many as 31.