How Devin Booker, Kevin Durant Led Suns To Game 3 Win vs. Nuggets

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Devin Booker continued his impressive playoff run for the Phoenix Suns, averaging 36.9 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in eight games. With the need to avoid falling 3-0 in Game 3, Booker and Kevin Durant combined for 86 points to defeat the Denver Nuggets, 121-114. Booker scored 47 points, while Durant added 39.

“It’s all I know, this is all I dreamed of as a kid,” Booker said. “I’ve dedicated a lot of my life, moved away from my family when I was young, to pursue being in these moments.”

Booker produced a highly efficient performance, shooting 20-25 from the floor and 5-8 from beyond the arc. Durant was quite impressive in his own right, as he finished shooting 12-31 overall and was 14-16 on free throws.

“They knew what we had to do to win this game,” Suns coach Monty Williams said.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns & Denver Nuggets Updates

After the Nuggets rallied back from a 15-point halftime deficit, the Suns were up 90-88 entering the fourth quarter. Shortly after, a Durant fast-break dunk capped off a 9-0 run to give Phoenix a 99-88 advantage and they didn’t trail in the final period. After starting the game shooting 1-9, Durant found a major rhythm — shooting 11-22 the rest of the way.

“It’s frustrating not making shots, because that’s what I’m paid to do,” Durant said. “But there also comes a time when you’ve just got to figure it out and push through it.”

Nikola Jokic did everything he could to give the Nuggets a chance after racking up 30 points, 17 assists, and 17 rebounds. Jamal Murray dropped 32 points, while Michael Porter Jr. chipped in 21 points and 12 rebounds. Murray felt he could have done more late in the game.

“I had some great looks at the end of the game and that would have kept us right there,” Murray said. “I feel like they pulled away because of that. I have to be more locked in, more relaxed down the stretch.”

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns & Denver Nuggets Updates

Nuggets coach Michael Malone called the team’s defensive execution against Booker “unacceptable.” Booker had zero issues getting to the rim or attacking downhill for short-range pull-ups. He was able to play his game too comfortably.

“I wasn’t a math major but that is a really high percentage,” Malone said. “We have to be a lot better.”

The Suns relied on Cameron Payne to fill in for the injured Chris Paul. While he didn’t quite replace Paul’s usual production, Payne scored seven points, including a timely made 3-pointer early in the fourth. Phoenix also made the adjustment to play Terrence Ross, Jock Landale, and TJ Warren more minutes.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns & Denver Nuggets Updates

Each of them made some important plays, as Landale scored six points and nine rebounds, even closing the game while Deandre Ayton was on the bench. Warren scored a few timely buckets toward the end of regulation, too.

“That’s life,” Booker said of Ayton not closing the game. “We’ve been around long enough to understand that not every night is going to be your night. It’s doing other things to make up for it. … Energy and effort always has to be high, especially around this time. You can’t get flustered, you can’t get in your own head. I could see that a little with him today, so it’s my job to pump him up.”

The Suns and Nuggets will face off in Game 4 on Sunday.

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