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Nuggets respond with big win over Suns in Game 5

After back-to-back losses, Denver won 118-102 over Phoenix to regain control of the Western Conference semifinals.

DENVER — The Nuggets needed a response. They delivered a big one in Game 5.

After dropping back-to-back games to the Suns in Phoenix, Denver returned home Tuesday night for a pivotal fifth matchup in the Western Conference semifinals with the series tied at two games apiece.

Back on their home court, the Nuggets put together the same dominant performance they did in Games 1 and 2 — a 118-102 win at Ball Arena to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

"A huge shoutout to our fans because I think they've appreciated the product, the winning, the style of play," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. "We appreciate that, and we need even more moving forward."

A triple-double from Nikola Jokić led the way for Denver as the former two-time NBA MVP poured in 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out 12 assists.

Bruce Brown also put together an impressive performance off the bench with 25 points — more than double his season average (11.5). Michael Porter Jr.'s 3-point shooting (5-for-8) led to 19 points, while Jamal Murray added another 19 of his own.

Credit: AP
Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown, front, drives to the rim past Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant and center Jock Landale in the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Western Conference semifinal series Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver went to halftime of Tuesday night's game with just a 3-point lead, but a solid third quarter in which the Nuggets outscored the Suns 39-25 helped them pull away with leads as large as 24.

Defensively, Denver found a way to cool down the red-hot duo of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, who scored 28 and 26 points, respectively. Their collective 53 points were far less than the 86 they combined for in Game 3, and 72 in Game 4.

The second-round playoff series travels back to Phoenix, where Denver can advance to the Western Conference Finals with a win Thursday night at the Footprint Center.

"Hopefully it will be the same way as today — up 20," Jokić said. "If we play the way we did today, we will have a good chance, especially to have that opportunity on the road against a really good team."



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