Denver Nuggets Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With just a few ticks under the nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Monday’s Game 1 between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets, Chris Paul had the ball in his hands in the middle of a personal radiator. Of the Suns’ three previous possessions, he had scored two of his fading pull-ups and a float on the backboard, good for six points. Denver’s Paul Millsap stood in front of CP3, having ducked down in an effort to deter any potential shots the CP3 had in mind, while Austin Rivers sat on the Denver sideline, staring at something all too familiar. Recognizing what is about to happen, he leaps from his seat to offer a warning to Millsap.

This is the part where the narrator would tell you “it didn’t matter”, or “it was already too late”, or something more disturbing.

Chris Paul, as evidenced by Rivers’ perfect impersonation, pulled off that same move hundreds of times before he chose to give it a go on Monday night, and while results have varied, the threat is still there. He can explode at any moment, unleashing a multitude of shots that a player his size probably shouldn’t be able to shoot at someone the size of a Millsap or a Michael Porter Jr., that ‘s. is Chris Paul. Even on a bum’s shoulder, you have to worry about him before anyone else on the floor.

The Denver Nuggets survived Damian Lillard’s offensive attack. But the Phoenix Suns are a more powerful type of storm, which could quickly decimate them.

But for the first time in his career perhaps, he’s part of a team where each of his four groundmates can (and regularly does) also worry an opponent, thus dropping some of his typical charge. It’s a dream scenario for Paul; it could prove to be a nightmare for the Nuggets.

Paul’s triple made it a 100-84 game with 75 percent of a quarterback to go, but the energy inside their arena cut off any little energy the Nuggets had left in their stash and an otherwise competitive game turned resolutely in the direction of a near-blowout, 122-105. They followed the exact same formula in Game 2 on Wednesday night, where the Suns held a consistent eight-to-ten-point lead before opening it in their favor late in the third quarter en route to inflicting Denver their worst loss. of the season. , 123-98.

The series so far has been, more or less, a duo of wars that the Suns have won hands down. But they didn’t just win the wars: they won every one of their battles. Even those whom, analytically, they “should” have lost.