The Washington Post

Booker, Paul lead Suns’ rout of Nuggets

- ASSOCIATED PRESS

SUNS 123, NUGGETS 98

Chris Paul had 17 points and 15 assists without a turnover, Devin Booker added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns routed the visiting Denver Nuggets, 123-98, on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Deandre Ayton had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Mikal Bridges added 16 points for the balanced Suns.

Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, a day after getting the NBA’S MVP award. But the Nuggets couldn’t find anyone else to score consistent­ly, leaving them reeling going back to Denver for Game 3 on Friday night.

Jae Crowder had another good night as the Suns’ long-range shooter and enforcer. He and Denver’s Aaron Gordon were both called for a technical foul after they exchanged words and shoves midway through the third.

Pacers fire Bjorkgren

Pacers Coach Nate Bjorkgren was fired after one season by Kevin Pritchard, Indiana’s president of basketball operations. Bjorkgren, 45, was expected to make an impact with his new-age approach and creativity.

But Indiana went 34-38 before finishing the season with an embarrassi­ng 142-115 loss to Washington in the play-in tournament.

NETS: Brooklyn’s James l

Harden will miss Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday in Milwaukee because of the right hamstring injury that forced him out of the series opener.

JAZZ: Rudy Gobert won his l third defensive player of the year award after helping Utah to the best record in the NBA.

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