The Phoenix Suns might not have Chris Paul, but they do have a series after Friday.
Behind 47 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals from Devin Booker, the Suns defeated the Nuggets 121-114 in Game 3. The win meant the Suns avoiding an 0-3 hole in a Western Conference semifinals round that was looking close to lost after Paul was pronounced out for at least a week because of a Game 2 groin injury.
Game 4 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET Sunday (TNT) in Phoenix as the Nuggets lead 2-1.
Phoenix responded to the loss of their future Hall of Fame point guard by starting backup Cameron Payne, but the real move was doubling down on Booker and Kevin Durant. Booker had a 20-of-25 night from the field, while Durant posted 39 points on 12-of-31 shooting with 9 rebounds and 8 assists.
The night matched a playoff career high for Booker.
— NBA (@NBA) May 6, 2023
Playing much faster than usual and in front of a raucous Phoenix crowd, the Suns built up a 15-point lead at halftime. The Nuggets responded with a dominant third quarter, erasing the lead within seven minutes and trailing by only two points at the end of the frame.
The Suns got back on their feet in the fourth, ripping off a 9-0 run in the first three minutes and never looking back.
The Suns pulled out the win despite another strong night from Nikola Jokić, who had a triple-double with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists. It was the first triple-double in NBA playoff history with at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists.
One of those assists was truly ridiculous:
Jamal Murray also had 32 points, but on 13-of-29 shooting.