Adam Grewe, Sports Writer

May is off to a solid start for the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets defeated the Phoenix Suns, 97-87 on May 2, to take a 2-0 lead in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored a game-high 39 points and had 16 rebounds in a dominant performance.

Devin Booker led Phoenix with 35 points and Kevin Durant added 24, but they combined to miss a whopping 32 shots, including 14 from the arc.

Joker’s big night was necessary as Murray shot 3 for 15 and missed all nine of his 3-pointers after sinking six of 10 in the opener, and Porter scored five points on 2-for-7 shooting.

“No hesitation from him. Just dominating down low and from three. Both ways, staying aggressive all game,” said Jamal Murray after the game. “Uplifting us during timeouts. Just, like, full belief in us the whole time while he’s taking over and picking up everybody’s slack, offensively and defensively.”

It was a masterclass in post scoring from Jokic, who used a variety of floaters, runners and crafty layups to do his damage.

After allowing three Denver players to score 20+ points in Game 1, the Suns focused on limiting Jokic’s ability to create shots for his teammates.

“He’s obviously been in a championship before. He knows what it takes. He knows the mental strength it takes. Being out there, being a two-way guy. Basically doing everything for us,” said Murray about Caldwell-Pope.

It was a smart gameplan, but it didn’t account for another off shooting night from the Suns, mixed with Jokic shooting 56.7% from the field on 30 attempts.

He also finished with 16 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in the win.

“If you’re gonna win and beat good teams, you have to be an aggressive team. When you have two evenly matched teams, the most aggressive team is going to win every night. I mean 87 points for that team? Like I don’t know if you guys realize the firepower that they have,” said Michael Malone.