Durant gets technical for shoving Jokić, Nuggets win handily to take 3-2 series lead
This game’s most talked about highlight has nothing to do with play on the court. Which is probably best for the Suns, they’d rather not discuss their Game 5 effort.
Late in the third quarter, with the Nuggets already up 20 and cruising, Nikola Jokić and Bruce Brown decided to be pests and tried to listen in on the Suns’ huddle. Kevin Durant pushed Jokić away (and Jokić sold it with an overly dramatic fall backward, ala Mat Ishbia).
Durant and Brown were given technicals. Jokić was asked postgame why he was in the Suns’ huddle and gave an honest, funny answer.
“Just to see what they were drawing up, just to see the play. I think that that would help us a lot,” he said, then paused as the room laughed. “I mean, that’s what I was doing.”
There was a little bad blood in the game — as there should be by Game 5 of a series. Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were talking early in the game and Murray picked up a soft technical for trash-talking after a dunk.
For all the tactical changes — the Nuggets pressuring Devin Booker up the court further, not letting him walk the ball up — there is still just one stat that is the bellwether for the series: How many points did Durant and Booker score combined?
In Game 5 that was 54.
That’s good, but not good enough. In the Suns’ home wins this series that duo took over to the tune of 86 and 72 points — they have to absolutely dominate for the Suns to overcome their defensive and depth issues. Tuesday night, the duo did not.
The Nuggets picked up a comfortable 118-102 win at home and now lead the series 3-2 as it heads back to Phoenix for Game 6 on Thursday.
Jokić had a triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds and 12 dimes – that’s four triple-doubles this postseason for Jokić,
Michael Porter Jr. had it going with 19 points and five 3-pointers for the Nuggets, while Brown scored 25 points off the bench. Murray added 19 as well.
Deandre Ayton was the only other Sun in double digits scoring (outside KD and Book) with 14.