Michael Malone Says Nuggets ‘Got Our Asses Kicked’ by Suns in Game 2

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AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone succinctly summed things up after his team’s 123-98 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of their Western Conference second-round playoff series on Wednesday.

“We got our asses kicked,” he told reporters.

Phoenix held serve in each of the first two games at home, and the second one was never truly in doubt.

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The Nuggets struggled on both sides of the floor. Defensively, they had no counter for Chris Paul’s overall control of the game in pick-and-rolls and atop the key. He mixed in midrange jumpers, lobs inside and kickouts to the wing, and the result was 17 points and 15 assists with no turnovers for the future Hall of Famer.

Six Suns scored in double figures, and the balance prevented Denver from consistently sending additional help to deal with Paul or Devin Booker as the game slipped away.

Offensively, the Nuggets didn’t get nearly enough help for Nikola Jokic.

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The newly crowned MVP finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and six assists and would have put up even better numbers if he didn’t sit out for the stretch run because the game was already out of reach.

However, Michael Porter Jr. appeared to labor with back concerns and shot just 3-of-13 from the field, and the visitors didn’t have a second playmaker to provide support for their big man with Jamal Murray still out because of a torn left ACL.

The Nuggets now must win four of the next five in order to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second successive year.

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Game 3 is Friday in Denver.

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