Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns have earned significant praise from Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic ahead of their upcoming Western Conference semifinal matchup of the 2023 NBA playoffs. After the Nuggets secured a Game 5 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jokic didn’t hold back in expressing his respect for the Suns.
Jokic acknowledged that the Suns are probably the favorites to win the championship, stating that they have a great group of guys who are well-coached. Jokic’s sentiments are echoed across the league as the Suns have been on a roll, winning their third straight first-round playoff series and now looking to make a deep run toward the NBA Finals.
What did Nikola Jokic say about Kevin Durant and the Suns?
Ahead of their encounter in the Western Conference semifinals Nikola regarding Durant and the Suns said, “They’re probably the favorites to win the championship. They have a great group of guys. They are well coached. … It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
The Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in a 136-130 series-clinching victory in Game 5, with Durant pouring in 31 points and Devin Booker tying his playoff career-high of 47 points. The absence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George due to injuries might have lessened the difficulty for the Suns, but they still had to face a resilient Clippers squad that made things interesting in the fourth quarter by cutting the deficit to 132-130.
Despite the recent history of the Suns sweeping the Nuggets in the second round of the 2021 playoffs, Jokic expects this year’s series to be a much harder task. He recognizes that the Suns now have Durant in their lineup, which makes them an even more formidable opponent.
The upcoming Suns vs. Nuggets series is shaping up to be a championship-like matchup, as both teams are stacked with talent. Alongside Durant, the Suns boast Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, while the Nuggets have Jokic, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr. around him.
Game 1 of the Suns vs. Nuggets series will be held at Ball Arena in Denver this coming Saturday, and basketball fans are eagerly anticipating what promises to be a thrilling showdown between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.
The Western Conference Semifinals: A Clash of Titans Between the Suns and Nuggets
The stage is set for an epic battle between two of the Western Conference’s top teams as the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets square off in the semifinals. The top-seeded Nuggets, led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, dispatched a feisty Minnesota squad in just five games to advance to this point.
Meanwhile, the 4th-seeded Suns relied on their dynamic duo of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, alongside veteran Chris Paul, to eliminate an injury-riddled LA Clippers team in the opening round.
The Suns have been on a roll since acquiring Durant at the trade deadline, winning 12 of the 13 games he’s suited up for. With Paul setting up the offense, Booker and Durant have developed a beautiful balance that’s proven difficult to stop. Despite Denver’s dominance throughout the regular season, many pundits have tabbed Phoenix as the West’s most title-ready team.
However, the Nuggets have no intention of being overlooked. Their yearlong dominance has been a testament to their talent and determination, and they’re eager to prove themselves as true contenders. With Jokic leading the way, Denver’s offense is firing on all cylinders, and Murray has been playing some of the best basketball of his career.
The stage is set for an intense matchup between two teams with championship aspirations. Who will come out on top and move one step closer to the NBA Finals? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – this will be a series for the ages.