Looks Like Defeat Was Determined Before It Began

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Updated: June 12, 2021
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The Joker looks out of gas as the Phoenix Suns are strolling on cruise control. The Lakers’ first-round knockout has been unanimously diagnosed as caused by injuries, but is it possible even if fully healthy, their early exit from the playoffs was at the hands of the best team in the Western Conference. For years Devin Booker’s numbers have been labeled as empty stats on a losing team. However, since the Suns 8-0 run in the Bubble, it seems they have picked up exactly where they left off in Orlando. The question of CP3 or Devin being the best player in Phoenix has echoed through the pods all year long, but one thing is certain, Booker has arrived and looks like he’s here to stay.

Without Denver’s starting point guard in Jamal Murray, the Nuggets simply look outmatched. For all of us who have serious Michael Porter Jr. stock, we had hoped his barrage of 3’s and poster jams at the rim as the Nuggets’ second option would continue from the series before. But with reported back stiffness going into Phoenix, he appears to be a shell of himself. Avoiding contact at the basket and averaging south of 3 free throws per game, his impact has been nearly non-existent, as MVP Nikola Jokic and clan of backup guards attempt to carry the load.

The question of if CP3’s health would be an issue in Denver seems to have been answered. The Point God appears to be on a collision course with the Western Conference Finals as he dissects the Nuggets defense like a hot scapple cutting through flesh. It’s not only what he’s been able to do, but how easily he’s been able to do it. In the first two games of this series, Paul has committed only 1 turnover as Phoenix’s primary ball-handler. Jokic’s defensive liabilities seem to allow CP3’s attack to run like a steady river offensive flow. The thought has always been, that despite these defensive limitations, the MVP’s overall impact on scoring and creating overcompensate what he lacks on the other end of the floor. But DeAndre Ayton’s ability to guard Nikola Jokic one on one has stagnated this impact.

Before the playoffs had begun, this is how many would’ve expected the series to look without the Murray/Joker two-man game in action. However, as good as the Nuggets looked against Portland, they had made believers of many covering the league to at least push this thing to 7. It’s hard to tell if it’s simply an indictment on Dame’s Blazers or an indication of how strong this Phoenix Suns’ team is but it looks like this series was over before it even really started. Now, we all know the saying, the series doesn’t start till somebody wins on road, and this could all be an overreaction to the way the Nuggets were handled in these first two games. Fast forward a week from now and maybe we’re all here to witness yet another 3-1 Denver comeback that the Bubble was defined by. But from what we’ve seen, it feels almost unimaginable that the Nuggets prevail and advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

 

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Roman Five
Roman Five
1 month ago

Can’t stop reading. Keep up the good work 👍🏻

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