As such, Phoenix stared down a 91-74 lead from Denver at the end of the third quarter. With a potential 3-2 lead for either team, the game got chipper with technical fouls flying for both teams.
The Nuggets owned the momentum for the night though, winning 118-102 over the Suns.
Transition Defense Flops in First Quarter
From the opening tip in Game 1, there was a clear sense of gap in both the Suns and Nuggets’ abilities while transitioning on the court. That much was once again on display in the first quarter.
Denver was able to put up 17 fast-break points in the first quarter. Such a stat nearly hands the team a decent lead, as was the case with a 35-24 lead for the Nuggets.
Michael Porter, Jr. reaped the benefits of the Suns’ lackadaisical defense. He scored 14 points in just the first quarter.
Terrence Ross Steps Up for the Bench
There has to be at least one significant player that makes a different off the bench. Such an aspect has been coveted for the Suns even coming into the regular season.
After acquiring Ross, and seeing him in action against Denver, it appears Phoenix has found some consistency from the veteran scorer.
Ross had nine points in Game 5, making the most of his efforts in the second half. He shot 3-of-4 from three point range while also having three rebounds and one block. Ross’ additional play helped give the Suns a brief sign of life going into the fourth quarter.
Nuggets’ Stars Show Up to Play
In the end, the Nuggets remained too much for Phoenix. Nikola Jokić continued his routine triple-double campaign. The two-time MVP went for 29 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He shot 12-of-20 from the field.
Jamal Murray was also an equal force in a bounce-back performance from Game 4. Murray scored 19 points while grabbing five rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Denver now has a legitimate chance at ending the Suns’ season in Game 6. Phoenix will need Durant to establish some momentum in the beginning of Game 5. Also, they’ll need anyone other than Devin Booker and Durant to step up given the gravity of the game.