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BBNBA: Murray’s 34 leads Nuggets to Game 1 win over Booker, Suns

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BBNBA: Murray’s 34 leads Nuggets to Game 1 win over Booker, Suns

Both the No. 1 Denver Nuggets and No. 4 Phoenix Suns needed just five games to advance out of the Western Conference Playoffs’ first round. But when the two faced off against each other on Sunday for the first time this postseason, one team clearly looked superior.

Powered by 34 points from Jamal Murray, the Nuggets cruised to a 125-107 win over the Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The former Kentucky Wildcat knocked down six of Denver’s 16 three-pointers on the night, dancing around the Suns’ defense from start to finish. Murray’s 34 points came on 13-24 shooting in addition to five rebounds, nine assists, and two steals in 36 minutes. It didn’t matter who was guarding him, Murray found ways to put up points in the most acrobatic and entertaining ways. Back-to-back triples in the middle of the fourth quarter had Murray ready to jump into the home crowd.

“He’s a bad man,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

“Let’s be honest, some of the shots he hit tonight I don’t think anybody could have stopped him,” Suns coach Monty Williams added.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic chipped in 24 points and 19 rebounds for the top-seeded Nuggets, but this was Murray’s night. It’s something about playing under the brightest lights that turn Murray into a superstar.

Meanwhile, Devin Booker was on the losing end of this one. While the Phoenix Suns All-Star guard still finished with 27 points (10-19 shooting), four rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two blocks in 40 minutes, his team could never trim away at the Nuggets’ lead. Denver unleashed a devastating 37-19 second-quarter run that gave Murray’s squad a commanding lead for the majority of the second half.

The Suns managed to bring the score to within as few as 11 points with under eight minutes remaining, but a 14-0 run from the Nuggets shut the door for good. Game 2 in Denver is set for Tuesday night at 10:00 p.m. EST on TNT.

LOOK AHEAD: Kings playing in pivotal Game 7

Normally, we stick to game recaps with our BBNBA posts, but with a Game 7 set for this afternoon between the No. 6 Golden State Warriors and No. 3 Sacramento Kings, we have to at least mention what’s at stake.

De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, and the rest of the Kings will look to knock off the defending champions at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC in Sacramento. The Kings have not won a postseason series since the 2004 Playoffs while the Warriors haven’t lost a first-round series in the Stephen Curry era. Sacramento won the first two games of the series at home but saw Golden State rattle off three straight to take a 3-2 series lead. The Kings would steal Game 6 on the road, however, to force a win-or-go-home Game 7 back at home.

Fox, who is playing with a fractured index finger in his shooting hand that he suffered in Game 4, is going to need another huge performance. He’s been incredible so far this postseason, averaging 29.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per outing in the series. If he can fight through the pain for one more game, his team will make the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time in nearly two decades.

4/29/23 statistics

PlayerScorePTSFG (3PT)REBASTSTLBLKTO+/-MINJamal Murray (DEN)125-107 W vs. PHX3413-24 (6-10)592031336Devin Booker (PHX)107-125 L @ DEN2710-19 (0-1)48123-1840

Today in the NBA

1:00 (ABC): No. 8 Heat (Adebayo, Herro: out) @ No. 5 Knicks (Quickley, Randle) | Tied 0-0
3:30 (ABC): No. 6 Warriors @ No. 3 Kings (Fox, Lyles, Monk) | Tied 3-3

The post BBNBA: Murray’s 34 leads Nuggets to Game 1 win over Booker, Suns appeared first on On3.

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