Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Nikola Jokic stresses need to 'hit first' and be aggressive after 25-point Game 2 loss

"They just outplayed us," Nikola Jokic said after the Nuggets 98-123 Game 2 loss to the Suns.

"They were a much, much better team. They were aggressive, making shots, finding open looks and had a couple of big offensive rebounds. They were the better team."

That pretty much sums it up. Led by their starters, who scored outscored their counterparts 77-50, the Suns had everything clicking for them in front of their home crowd in Phoenix.

Chris Paul, who took over from his dominant fourth quarter in Game 1, was the biggest weapon in Game 2. Playing 31 minutes, he finished with his second consecutive double-double of 17 points and 15 assists while not committing a single turnover.

The Suns led by as many as 31 and were in complete control of the game, especially in the second half.

"I felt we quit tonight," a disappointed Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said.

Calling their performance 'embarrassing', he said, "There's a reason their crowd is yelling Suns in four."

"I wish we can make every shot," the recently crowned league MVP said when asked what he could change from Game 2.

There's a lot of truth in Jokic's statement. At halftime, despite shooting 4-of-22 from beyond the arc, the Nuggets were only down 10 (52-42). However, the Suns didn't let up in the second half and the Nuggets simply couldn't keep up.

Jokic wasn't as harsh but stressed the need to change things up, as the series shifts to Denver for Games 3 and 4.

"We need to be aggressive. We need to hit first, just to change the rhythm of the game," Jokic said.

Whatever those changes are, the Nuggets have just the one day off to make it as both teams will suit once again on Friday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET for Game 3.

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