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Suns Fall Behind to Nuggets in First Half

© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There was a hefty burden placed on the Phoenix Suns in Game 5. The Suns are coming off a Game 4 win against the Denver Nuggets, tying the series at 2-2.

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Being able to steal Game 5 while playing in Denver could practically seal the series. Yet as the first quarter got underway, Denver proceeded with energy that was absent in Game 4.

Michael Porter Jr. got off to a hot start, scoring 8 points in the first six minutes of play. Denver as a whole scored 17 fast-break points in the first quarter.

The Suns were still able to rally back in the first half though. As such they were able trim the lead to 52-49 at the end of the first half.

Durant Has an Ice Cold First Quarter

There’s been much said of the Suns needing Kevin Durant to have one of his signature breakout games consistently. However, in the first quarter, it was evident that it may not be the case in Game 5.

Durant only had one point through the first 8 minutes of play. He was 0-3 from the field, scoring his only point at the free-throw line. In that time span, the former MVP was a minus-1.

Durant isn’t the sole reason for the Suns being down by a decent margin for the quarter. Still, his responsibility  holds more wait as one of the spearheading forces for Phoenix.

His slump continued much into the second half, giving way to extend a poor shooting performance by the Suns. Phoenix shot 27 percent from three-point range for the half.

Durant’s efforts did, however, help give the Suns a breathing chance at the end of the second quarter. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field.

Lack of Bench Production

The reserves for Phoenix have made waves given the recent contributions in the series. In the first half, though, it appeared that reality had set back in.

T.J. Warren appeared to be the only man on a mission of the bench. He only had four points, but he also posed a threat on the defensive side. He finished the half with two blocks and a steal. Warren was a plus-8 at the end of the half.

Aside from Warren, the remainder of active reserves went 1-of-4 from the field. Terrence Ross was able to hit a much-needed three-pointer to cut the lead to one point in the second quarter.

Ross and Landry Shamet showed signs of grit at the end of the half. There’s still another half to be played, and the Suns will need similar showings from both players to be successful.

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