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Suns again break game open on Nuggets to go ahead 2-0

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 — It was not pretty for either offense, but the Phoenix Suns took a 10-point lead into halftime in Game 2 of their conference semifinals series against the Denver Nuggets.

Then they followed the script for Game 1 of the series.

Phoenix punched hard in the third quarter, and the overly Nikola Jokic-centric Nuggets couldn’t find the newly minted league MVP enough support in a 123-98 Suns win that gave the home team a 2-0 series lead.

Just like Game 1, the Phoenix victory included a well-rounded collection of contributions.

Devin Booker (18 points, 10 rebounds), Chris Paul (17 points, 15 assists) and Deandre Ayton (15 points, 10 rebounds) all had double-doubles by the early fourth quarter, and all of them received an extended rest in the final period.

Every Phoenix starter, plus Torrey Craig off the bench, reached double-figures.

Phoenix outscored Denver 73-56 in the second half.

The Suns’ clean offensive second half was a departure from a junked up first half for both teams.

Denver shot 37% and went 4-of-22 from three-point range. Phoenix fared little better, hitting 41% overall.

For the Nuggets, Jokic led the way with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. He received little help.

Michael Porter Jr., who played despite being questionable heading into Wednesday with a bad back, went 3-of-13 from the field for just 13 points. Fellow starting forward Aaron Gordon had just six points.

Meanwhile, Denver’s trio of rotation guards all struggled.

Starters Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers plus backup Monte Morris combined to shoot 4-of-19 for 12 total points.

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