Los Angeles (AFP)

The Suns are halfway there: The Phoenix franchise on Wednesday gleaned a second straight win, out of the required four, against Denver in Game 2 of their NBA conference semifinal.

Victorious 123-98 on their floor, the Arizona players spoiled the party of Nikola Jokic (24 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists), named Tuesday best player of the season.

With the firepower of the Serbian giant, they opposed their collective strength: six players from Phoenix scored ten points or more.

"It was teamwork, once again," said one of them, point guard Chris Paul (17 pts, 15 assists, 5 rebounds).

"We knew how important this game was," he added, stressing that his team wanted to avoid an equalizer for the Nuggets at all costs before Game 3 of the series, which will be the first to be played in Colorado.

The Suns took a small rise of four points at the end of the first quarter (25-21) and then only accentuated it: 52-42 at half-time and 86-67 at the end of the third quarter.

Devin Booker (18 pts, 10 rebounds) was the most prolific, followed by Mikal Bridges (16 pts) and Deandre Ayton (15 pts, 10 rebounds).

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As for the Nuggets, the absence of leader Jamal Murray, injured in a knee since April, was again severely felt.

"A lot of players played very poorly tonight," said Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

"It was just a ridiculous performance from A to Z," he cracked.

"I saw a team who wanted to be here, who played with clear intentions," added Malone of the opponent tonight.

The only reason for hope for the Colorado franchise, Michael Porter, who suffered a back injury in the first game of the semi-final, played 27 minutes and scored 11 points.

The next episode of the duel is scheduled for Friday in Denver.

The winner of the series will face in the final of the Western Conference the winner of the semi-final Utah - Clippers (the Jazz lead a victory to zero).

© 2021 AFP