For the first time since the 2009-10 season, the Phoenix Suns are going to the NBA Western Conference Finals. In a surprise to many, the No. 2 seed Suns swept the No. 3 seed Nuggets. Sunday night’s Game 4 loss came as a shock with the ejection of Nuggets superstar and MVP Nikola Jokić. He was given a flagrant 2 foul and ejected midway through the 3rd quarter following a hard swipe on Suns guard Cameron Payne. Although the score remained close following Jokić’s ejection, the Nuggets could not compete without Jokić. The ejection opened the floor for several players such as Jae Crowder and Cameron Payne.
The Denver Nuggets had an impressive season, finishing with a 47-25 record, the third-best record in the Western Conference. With the loss of superstar guard Jamal Murray in April, the Nuggets showed no signs of slowing down, having a winning record in Murray’s absence. Jokić finished the season averaging 26 points, eight assists, and 10 rebounds per game.
The Nuggets also saw improvement in Michael Porter Jr. who increased his scoring from nine to 19 points per game. Jamal Murray had a slight improvement from last season, showing flashes of the Jamal Murray fans saw in the bubble last season. Murray’s season-ending injury makes one wonder if a finals appearance would’ve been guaranteed had he not been injured.
For the Phoenix Suns, the Western Conference Finals will be a new experience for many on the roster. Chris Paul (who finished with 37 points) will reach the Western Conference Finals for the second time, with the last time being in the 2017-18 season as a member of the Houston Rockets. Superstar Devin Booker will make his first Western Conference Finals appearance after not making the playoffs in his entire career.
The Suns continue their dominant performances during the playoffs. The team eliminated the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in six games before sweeping the Denver Nuggets and MVP Nikola Jokić. The Suns will now rest while the other Western Conference Semifinals matchup continues.
The Suns will face the No.1 seed Utah Jazz or No. 4 seed L.A. Clippers. As of this writing, the Jazz leads the series 2-1, with the Clippers taking Game 3 in Los Angeles. Game 4 will take place in Los Angeles as well. No matter who the Suns face in the Western Conference Finals, fans will expect an exciting back and forth series, with the winner going to the NBA finals.
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