NBA Playoffs: Suns Overcome Nikola Jokic’s 53, Ride Kevin Durant, Devin Booker To 2-2 Series Tie

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Nikola Jokic exploded for 53 points on Sunday. This was not enough.

The Phoenix Suns countered with big games from Devin Booker and Kevin Durant in a frantic 129-124 win over the . The game was an offensive display from both teams that featured All-NBA players at their best. In the end, Phoenix had more firepower and tied the Western Conference Semifinal series 2–2 after dropping the first two games in Denver.

Durant and Booker set the tone early on with Durant's 11 first-quarter points and Booker's 13. Durant, who shot less than 39% from the field in each of Games 2 and 3, capped the first quarter with a catch-and-shoot fadeaway. The buzzer beater cut Denver's lead to 34–32.

Jokic scored 9 points in the first quarter, then turned things around in the second en route to a 24-point half while scoring 11 straight Denver points. He also got into a bizarre encounter with Sons owner Matt Ishbia in the stands.

Jokic challenges Suns owner in the stands

Ishbiya had bowled a loose ball to the seat of his court. Jokic then forcefully took it from him and pushed the Suns owner back to his seat.

The push resulted in a technical foul, like a non-playing player, but Jokic remained in the game. He remained red hot even after the interval.

Jokic went on another personal scoring run with 13 straight Nuggets points in the third quarter and finished Stanza with 42. But Phoenix completed its outburst with a 14-for-18 effort from the field, its best shooting quarter of the season. Hot shooting sent the Suns into the fourth quarter with their biggest lead of the game at 98–92.

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There, Landry Shamet joined the party with a 14-point fourth quarter effort for Phoenix. Jokic and Jamal Murray kept up the pressure, but Phoenix never relinquished the lead late.

Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns defended the home court again. (Christian Peterson/Getty Images)

Booker and Durant are enough for the short-handed Suns

Booker and Durant each scored 36 points. Durant added 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals to his tally while shooting 11 of 19 from the floor and 2 of 2 from 3-point distance. Booker, who entered the playoffs averaging 36.9 points per game, added 12 assists and 6 rebounds to his totals. He shot 14 of 18 from the field while connecting on 3 of 4 3-point attempts.

As a team, Phoenix shot 56.8% from the field and 13 of 29 (44.8%) from 3-point distance. The depth continued as a result with Booker, Durant and Shamet the only Phoenix players to score in double figures. Deandre Ayton struggled to contribute on offense, tallying 8 points and 8 rebounds while attempting only 6 field attempts.

But the Suns did enough to seal the win as Chris Paul was sidelined for the second game in a row with a groin injury. His status for Game 5 is unclear, but a reported early timeline projected him to be sidelined at least through Game 5.

Will Jokic face discipline for pushing?

Jokic added 10 points and 4 rebounds to match his 53 points. Murray posted 28 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds while shooting 13 of 25 from the field. Michael Porter Jr. struggled from the field in a 4-for-13 effort with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. He shot just 2 of 9 from 3-point distance and missed all three of his fourth-quarter 3s as Denver tried to rally.

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The series heads back to Denver for Game 5 on Tuesday with some additional off-day tension in Denver. Jokic was not ejected for fouling Ishbia, but the NBA will certainly review the incident with further discipline on the table.