Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
#1 Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns celebrates a made basket. PHNX Suns/Twitter


  • Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray led the Denver Nuggets past the Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Devin Booker's 47-point explosion secured the win over the Los Angeles Clippers
  • The last time they met saw the Phoenix Suns sweep the Denver Nuggets in 2021

The first matchup of the second round in the Western Conference has been set after a pair of Game 5 wins from the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, but it was not without difficulty on either end.

Against a hungry and desperate Minnesota Timberwolves team, Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets had to scrap on every possession throughout the 48-minute affair as the Wolves had a team-centric approach to breaking down Denver.

Anthony Edwards again had a star-making performance under his belt as he paced the Timberwolves with 29 points and even had a chance to send the game to overtime with a three-point attempt, but hit back iron and it ensured the Nuggets would advance to the next round.

"We can do it. We believe in ourselves; we got the group to do it and we've been together for a while now. This is fun. This is when we're at our best," Nuggets star Jamal Murray said in the postgame interview.

On the other side of the bracket, the Suns built an impressive 20-point lead at one point thanks to a 50-point explosion in the third quarter, with superstar guard Devin Booker being responsible for half of it–missing only one of his 11 attempts from the field.

The Los Angeles Clippers were unwilling to relent, however, and fought back to get back within two points in the last two minutes care of Nicolas Batum making four of his five three-point attempts.

But it was simply too much to overcome as Booker (47) and Durant (31) combined for 78 of the Suns' 136 points knocking off the Clippers' hopes of extending the series.

"Those guys don't stop fighting. That's been the story of the whole series. He's (Russell Westbrook) gonna bring it every night and he's gonna make sure the people around him bring it too. I have a lot of respect for that man," Booker told Inside The NBA in the postgame interview.

When the second-round matchup tips off on Saturday, April 29, it will mark the fifth time both teams have met each other in the postseason and will only be the second time they meet in the conference semifinals.

Both sides would remember their epic 2021 clash, but for different reasons.

For Suns fans, they look back on it fondly as it birthed the now-infamous "Suns in 4" meme and quickly cemented their status as potential title contenders by stringing together four dominant performances to lock in a Western Conference Finals appearance.

Nuggets supporters will enter this series rematch with a ton of motivation though as they finally have a completely healthy roster since Murray was out due to injury and Michael Porter Jr. was still finding his footing when they last met in the postseason.

It is also worth noting that the Nuggets will have home-court advantage this time around and it is certainly something they would appreciate as the Suns have struggled mightily on the road, posting a 17-24 record.

Additionally, Denver has been unchallenged at home with a record of 34-7.

The postseason is only going to heat up from here on out as the stakes continue to get higher, and both the Suns and Nuggets feel as if this is the year they win their first-ever NBA championship.

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
#27 Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets. Bleacher Report/Twitter