Give the Suns credit, at least they were in this one; except that’s a moral victory, and those don’t count this time of year.
Denver did what a No. 1 seed is supposed to do in winning their home games to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.
But the Suns blew a golden opportunity to light up the Nuggets and return home with momentum. Phoenix entered the fourth quarter with a 73-70 lead, thanks to stifling defense on Denver’s best scorers. The fourth quarter, however, was a housebuilder’s dream with the Suns putting up one brick after another. Phoenix scored just 14 points in the final period on its way to a 97-87 loss.
The game was still close with about 4 minutes to play, but Phoenix just couldn’t execute offensively.
Devin Booker missed a straight-away 3-pointer.
Kevin Durant tried to shoot over a double team but got blocked.
And Josh Okogie had a wide-open opportunity at point-blank range, but he didn’t even shoot the ball.
Meanwhile, Denver got huge contributions from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including two fourth-quarter 3-pointers that helped the Nuggets bury the Suns.
There was a massive free-throw disparity, but don’t blame that for the loss. The Suns should be used to it, by now.
Don’t blame the Chris Paul injury, either. The Suns should be used to that, too.
Instead, blame the Suns for apparently forgetting how to shoot.
Kevin Durant was an abysmal 10 for 27, including 3 for 12 from 3-point range.
That’s not going to win this time of year.
Next week, this could all be a memory, if Phoenix returns to Denver with the series tied 2-2.
But who’s willing to bet on that? Not when it looks like Chris Paul will be out for a while.
We don’t know the severity of Paul’s groin injury that forced him to leave the game in the second half, but it pains me to say that muscle strains and tears don’t tend to heal quickly for aging guards who can’t rely on their size to mask limited mobility.
This is not looking good for the Phoenix Suns, especially since moral victories don’t count this time of year.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kevin Durant failed the Suns with poor shooting against Denver
Source: Yahoo Sports