The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns started Game 2 with slow offense by both sides. through the first two minutes of gameplay, there were just two points scored between the two sides. For Denver, it was a heavy dose of Nikola Jokic to start the game as he had 11 of the team’s 18 first-quarter points. For Phoenix, they weren’t lighting up the scoreboard either, as they had just 21 in the first with seven of those coming from Devin Booker to lead the team.

In the second quarter, it was more of what we saw in the first from both sides. Neither team was particularly keen on scoring the basketball, and the Suns started the quarter in a roughly five-minute scoring drought. With the starters back in the game for Phoenix, they got some shots to fall. Specifically, they were getting a lot of second-chance points by crashing the offensive glass. Denver was still looking for another person outside of Jokic to contribute some offense, but it wasn’t coming with Denver trailing 40-42 at the half.

In the third quarter, the offenses were finally starting to come to life. Specifically, Jokic and Booker were putting on a display from all areas of the floor. Fouls were starting to add up for both teams, but those two stars were not going to be deterred from scoring. Despite the Suns shooting 70 percent from the floor in the third quarter, Jokic was not going down without a fight. He had 31 of the team’s 70 points through three quarters, and Aaron Gordon was the only other player on the roster with more than seven points in the game. Booker had 31 of his own, and he was leading the Suns in scoring with their 73-70 lead heading into the final period.

The Nuggets started the fourth quarter down by three at home with just about the entire offense running ice cold. Well, just a couple of minutes later, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and Denver had regained the lead. It was announced early in the quarter that Chris Paul was done for the remainder of the game after exiting the third quarter early with a groin injury, and the Suns were going to have to finish without him. Jokic’s offensive engine was continuing to run hot. With under two minutes remaining, the Nuggets were leading by 10 while Jokic was up to 39 points, including 26 in the second half. KCP hit his fourth triple of the night, and Denver was looking to put this game away after battling through the first three quarters. The Nuggets had gone on a 25-12 run over a nine-minute span that saw them doing the work on both ends of the floor. Following a couple of late buckets by Phoenix, the Nuggets were going to dribble out the clock, and they were going to hang on to win by a score of 97-87 thanks in large part to the exploits of KCP and the two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 39

Assists: Jamal Murray – 8

Rebounds: Jokic – 16

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 39 points, 5 assists, 16 rebounds, 17-of-30 field goal, 2-of-6 3-point, 3-of-4 free throw