The Denver Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the second time since 2020, defeating the injury-riddled Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday night. Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets' star center, played a pivotal role in the series, averaging an efficient 30-point triple-double.
The Suns campaign comes to end after acquiring Kevin Durant in a blockbuster trade in February, a move that made them second favorites to win the title entering the playoffs. Injuries to key players, including Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton, weakened the Suns as they faced the #1-seeded Denver Nuggets.
Denver's two-time MVP, Nikola Jokic's incredible performance throughout the series was instrumental in the Nuggets' success. In Game 6, Jokic scored 32 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 12 assists, leading Denver to a 125-100 victory. The Suns struggled, with Durant managing only 23 points in the game. Quiet nights from Booker & Durant combined with the absence of Paul and Ayton proved to be too much for the top-seeded team.
Despite adjustments made by the Suns' coaching staff, including starting Jock Landale in place of Ayton and giving minutes to Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix was unable to contain Jokic and the Nuggets' potent offense. This marks the second consecutive year the Suns have been eliminated from the Western Conference Semifinals at home.
Jokic's game log demonstrates his consistent dominance throughout the series, posting remarkable numbers across the board. His ability to score, rebound, and distribute the ball effectively makes him a formidable force in the NBA Playoffs, and he will be a crucial factor in the Nuggets' pursuit of their first-ever NBA Finals appearance.