Los Phoenix Suns finiquitaron el domingo la semifinal de la Conferencia Oeste ante los Denver Nuggets por 4-0 con una última victoria 125-118 en la que Nikola Jokic, el MVP de la NBA, acabó expulsado.
El veterano base Chris Paul dio otra clase magistral con 37 puntos y 7 asistencias para Phoenix, que ahora enfrentará en la final del Oeste a Los Angeles Clippers o Utah Jazz.
Frente a su público, los Nuggets del argentino Facundo Campazzo (14 puntos y 4 triples) pusieron un duro punto y final a una temporada en la que se habían sobrepuesto a numerosas lesiones, especialmente la de su figura Jamal Murray.
Víctima de la frustración, el serbio Nikola Jokic (22 puntos y 11 rebotes), MVP de la temporada, fue expulsado en el tercer cuarto por un duro golpe a Cameron Payne cuando intentaba arrebatarle la pelota.
Los Suns, que eliminaron en la primera ronda al campeón defensor, Los Angeles Lakers, jugarán su primera final de conferencia desde 2010, el año de su última participación en playoffs. AFP
NBA playoffs: Suns complete sweep of Nuggets, advance to Western Conference finals
No team was better against quality competition than the Phoenix Suns during the regular season. So far, that’s holding true in the playoffs, as well.
The Suns completed a sweep of the Denver Nuggets on Sunday with a 125-118 win, advancing to their first Western Conference finals since 2010. They will face the winner of the series between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers, in which the the Jazz currently lead 2-1.
Leading the Suns once again was Chris Paul, who scored a season-high 37 points, his most in a playoff game since a playoff career-high 41 in the 2018 postseason.
Paul finished the series averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 assists and five rebounds in four games, which is pretty good for a 36-year-old with a still-healing shoulder who was basically a salary dump two seasons ago. Devin Booker also chipped in 34 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, continuing a strong beginning to his playoffs career.
After falling behind 2-0 in the opening minute, the Suns led for the entire game and by as much as 16 points. The Nuggets cut the lead to a single possession four different times, but still couldn’t find that next gear, especially after losing their most important player.
Nikola Jokic ejected in third quarter
Hope for a Nuggets comeback diminished greatly in the third quarter, when league MVP Nikola Jokic was ejected on a flagrant 2 foul for hitting Suns guard Cameron Payne hard in the face.
Jokic finished with 22 points (9-of-17 shooting), 11 rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers.
Despite losing their star player, the Nuggets still managed to hang around for the game. They cut the lead to as little as five points midway through the fourth quarter, and weren’t out of it until this back-breaking sequence with less than two minutes in the game. Jack Baer · Writer