Blowout loss to Denver ends Suns' postseason and title hopes
What can we say, Suns fans? It happened again, and it's a tough morning for all of us.
The big picture: The high hopes that the Phoenix Suns took into the playoffs collapsed in spectacular fashion as the Denver Nuggets trounced them at home, winning 125-100 to win the series in six games.
- For the second straight year, the Suns' postseason ended with a blowout in front of the home crowd in the Western Conference semifinals.
The bottom line: Denver started pummeling Phoenix early, and the Suns simply couldn't catch up or do anything to stop them.
- The Nuggets put up 81 in the first half and led by 30 at halftime.
Zoom in: Not only were the Suns without Chris Paul for the fourth straight game, big man Deandre Ayton sat out with a rib contusion suffered during the team's Game 5 loss on Sunday.
1 big postseason: Devin Booker was positively heroic throughout the playoffs, putting up stat lines that haven't been seen since Michael Jordan in 1990.
- Booker averaged 33.7 points per game and scored a total of 371 in 11 playoff games.
- He formed a potent duo with Kevin Durant, who averaged 29 per game in the playoffs.
Yes, but: Last night was Booker's first bad game of the postseason — 12 points on 4-13 shooting.
- The only bright spot was Cameron Payne, who scored a career-high 31 points while starting at point guard for Paul.
What they're saying: “It sucked. It was a bad feeling. It was embarrassing,” Durant said. “They came out and hit us in the mouth and we couldn’t recover."
Between the lines: New owner Mat Ishbia mortgaged the team's future for a shot at winning now, trading Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and future draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Durant.
- The excitement around Durant was palpable and the blockbuster trade quickly breathed new life into the Suns' flagging championship hopes.
- Phoenix was 8-0 when Durant played going into the playoffs.
What's next: The Suns' title chances in future years are now tied to the 38-year-old Paul and the 34-year-old Durant.
- The team also gave Ayton, the target of frequent criticism throughout the playoffs, a big contract extension last year, locking him up with a four-year, $133 million deal.
- Brooklyn also gets Phoenix's first-round draft picks this year and in 2025, 2027 and 2029.
Of note: That was Al McCoy's last game as the "Voice of the Suns." He is retiring after 51 years announcing their games.
Jeremy's thought bubble: I was in the stands at Footprint Center for last year's Game 7 debacle against the Mavericks, and that was still worse than what I saw last night.
- But last night was bad. I expected Denver to win the series, but I thought the Suns would at least even up the series at home and make the Nuggets beat us in Game 7.
- The Durant trade seemed like the right move at the time and I was as excited as anyone, but now a lot of people will be second-guessing it.
- I made sure to tune into McCoy's broadcast during the fourth quarter so I could at least hear one last, "Shazam!" Thanks for the memories, Al.
More Phoenix stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.