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Chris Paul leads Suns to Game 1 win vs. Nuggets

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul made 6 of 6 shots in the fourth quarter to lead his team to a playoff win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday in Phoenix. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul made 6 of 6 shots in the fourth quarter to lead his team to a playoff win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday in Phoenix. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

June 8 (UPI) -- Veteran guard Chris Paul scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Phoenix Suns to a win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series.

The Nuggets led by 10 points in the third frame, but Paul spearheaded the comeback 122-105 victory Monday at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix.

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"We were just playing with pace," Paul told reporters. "They got a nice little lead on us, but with the crowd and the energy, there is nothing like it."

All-Star center Nikola Jokic scored 10 points in the first quarter and the Nuggets led for most of the first half. They had a 58-57 lead at the break.

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Suns forward Mikal Bridges scored 13 points in the third quarter and the Suns outscored the Nuggets 31-21 in the frame to take an 88-79 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Suns trailed 70-60 four minutes into the third quarter. They used a 19-2 run to take a 79-82 lead with 3:44 left in the third frame and never looked back.

Paul scored nine points during a 14-5 run at the start of the fourth quarter, which pushed the Suns lead to 18 points with 8:36 remaining. He added another four points in the final minutes to help secure the playoff win.

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"He [Paul] just made plays," Suns guard Devin Booker told reporters. "Not only his scoring ability but getting everybody else involved.

"That's been the story of the season for us, following him in that regard."

Bridges scored a game-high 23 points with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in the win. Paul totaled 11 assists and six rebounds in addition to his 21 points. Booker chipped in another 21 points, eight assists and four rebounds in the win.

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Suns center Deandre Ayton scored 20 points with 10 rebounds. Jokic led the Nuggets with 22 points. Aaron Gordon chipped in 18 points in the loss.

The Nuggets shot 46.7% from the field, while the Suns made 54.1% of their shots in the win. The Suns host the Nuggets in Game 2 at 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Phoenix.

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