DENVER (AP). Jamal Murray scored a total of 34 points and hit six of Denver’s 16 3-pointers. The Nuggets defeated the Phoenix Suns by 125-107 in the first game of their second round series.
Aaron Gordon, the 23-pointer for the No. 1 seed in Western Conference, was a close second with 24 points. The Western Conference's No. 1 seed. This was the Murray Show. He went 6/10 from 3-point range and exhorted the crowd to make more noise.
Kevin Durant led the Suns with 29 points, Devin Booker added 27 and Chris Paul scored 11. Booker averaged 37.4 points during the first round series victory over Los Angeles Clippers.
Denver hosts Game 2 on Monday.
The playoff series is different than the one two years ago when the Suns swept over the Nuggets. Denver was missing Murray back then after he tore an ACL.
Murray, now healthy and able to play his 2020 form in the NBA bubble which helped Denver reach the Western Conference Finals.
Murray's play of the evening was when he stole the pass, split Paul and Durant with top speed and knocked a layup off the glass. The crowd was brought to their feet.
He was not done with the fans. A 3-pointer, made just over 7 minutes before the end of play, continued to energize them. He even held his hand up to his ear, begging for them to make more noise.
Nuggets, who led 106-95 at 7:40 left in the game, went on a 14-point run to win the game. Denver was up to 25 points ahead and is now 38-7 in the regular season and playoffs.
The Nuggets won by 48-21 on the Suns' 3-point line.
The Nuggets employed a variety of defenders to stop Durant. He made 12 of 19 shots from the floor but only 1 of 3 3-pointers. Durant is now just a few points away from passing Karl Malone's (4,761) 7th place in the NBA postseason point leaderboard.
Suns: Suns Coach Monty Williams challenged Booker's charge with just 55.4 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The call was reversed and Booker received a free-throw, which he converted. ... Deandre Ayton scored 14 points.
Nuggets Coach Michael Malone called timeout to calm his team 32 seconds into second half. Bruce Brown scored 14 points.
Malone says that as Paul approaches his 38th anniversary next week, the only thing that hasn't altered over the years is Paul’s competitiveness.
Malone stated that he will be 55 when he plays in a North Carolina rec league. He'll still be the same person. The guy is ultra-competitive, hates losing and is one of the best leaders I have ever worked with. No matter where he is in his career, he always finds a way of winning.