The Phoenix Suns are heading to the Western Conference Finals after beating the Denver Nuggets in a decisive Game 4 on Sunday night. The 125-118 win gave the Suns a sweep in the series against the Nuggets while also extending their playoff win streak to seven games.
The Suns were carried by All-Star duo Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who had another postseason outing. Paul scored 37 points and dished seven assists, while Booker had 34 points and 11 boards.
Nuggets made a late fourth-quarter push but couldn’t go all the way without their best player Nikola Jokic on the court. Jokic, who recently received the NBA MVP award, was ejected late in the third quarter for a flagrant foul on Cameron Payne.
Jokic made a hard swipe to get the ball out of Payne’s hands but also ended up hitting the Suns guard in the face. After the review, referees called a Flagrant 2 on the Serbian and sent him to the locker room.
Despite ending the game early, Jokic still managed to contribute with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Will Barton had 25 points, and Michael Porter Jr. scored 20 for Denver as well.
This was a bitter end of the postseason for the Nuggets but also an expected one. They entered the playoffs without one of their best players in Jamal Murray and knew they would have a tough time getting all the way without him.
“I’m not going to allow this series to define the season,” said Denver’s head coach Michael Malone. “Hopefully next year we can find a way to stay healthy and be better and see where we can go.”
Phoenix, on the other hand, now waits for the conclusion of the Utah Jazz vs. LA Clippers series to find out their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. This will be the first trip to conference finals for the Suns since the 2009-10 season, which was also the last time the team has made the playoffs.
“It’s a feeling that’s kind of hard to put (into) words,” said Booker. “After a game like this, or after you close a series out, you sit back and reflect a little bit and think about what we’ve been through as an organization and as a team.”