Two games into the second round out West, the Denver Nuggets aren’t looking so good. Coach Karl Malone claimed they ‘quit tonight’ in response to the 123-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns. But you can’t take credit away from the top seed, either. They did exactly what they needed to do, and 36-year-old Chris Paul led the charge. He was superb on the evening in helping his team take a 2-0 lead in the series, scoring 17 points while dishing out 15 assists without committing a single turnover.
That is downright impressive. Devin Booker had 18 points to go with ten rebounds for a double-double of his own, and all five starters scored at least 11 points. The same, however, can’t be said for Denver. MVP candidate Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds along with six assists, but he almost got no help. No other player on the Nuggets had more than 11, condemning them to a defeat that leaves them in desperate need of a win when they head back home for Game 3. If they don’t win, this series could be over in very short order.