Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets made a loud statement in Game 1 of their second-round series versus Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns. The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference stomped all over the Sun in the series opener, which Denver won convincingly, 125-107.

Among the chief reasons for that win by Nikola Jokic and company was their performance on the defensive end of the court. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, ahead of Monday night’s Game 2, said that his team did an astounding job of challenging shots, especially around the perimeter inside the arc, per Shane Young of Forbes Sports.

“Tough twos don’t beat us over 48 minutes,” Malone added.

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Although the Suns shot 51.2 percent from the field in Game 1, they held Devin Booker down to only 0-for-3 from mid-range. As a team, the Suns shot just 6-for-15 (40 percent success rate) on shots taken from mid-range.

The versatility and aggressiveness of Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and Bruce Brown made a mark in Game 1 on both ends of the floor, and those qualities will continue to be a key to success for the Nuggets in this series.

Trying to slow down a loaded Suns team is always going to be an unenviable task, but at least in Game 1, the Nuggets showed that they are very much capable of doing just that. On offense, the Nuggets were carried by the pair of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Jokic churned out a near triple-double of 24 points, 19 rebounds, and five assists, while Murray exploded for 34 points on 13-for-24 shooting from the floor to go along with nine assists and five rebounds.