The Phoenix Suns devoured the Denver Nuggets in Game 1, but the job is far from done for them. Beating the Nuggets twice in a row is a tall task. Will the Suns take down Denver again? Or, will the Nuggets cool down Phoenix in Game 2?
Catch this game live on Thursday, June 10, at 9:30 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Phoenix Suns (1-0, 1-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
Who’s stopping the Suns? So far, the answer to that hasn’t been the Nuggets, as Phoenix smoked Nikola Jokic and company in Game 1, 122-105. The Suns used a blistering 34-9 run in the second half to turn a close contest into a blowout in an instant.
Phoenix can’t just bask under the sun of its success in the series opener, as Denver remains a very dangerous team, but it must feel nice for them to see Deandre Ayton continue his domination in the playoffs.
Fresh off overpowering the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, Ayton gave Jokic the business, as he scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while also shooting 9 of 13 from the floor. His efficiency plays so well with the Suns’ perimeter guys in Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Mikal Bridges.
Speaking of Paul, it was a terrific sign for the Suns that the Point God struggled for three quarters in Game 1 and yet needed just a great period from him to demolish Denver. It says a lot about the fearsome potential of this Suns team that also owns the best defense in the playoffs (98.6 points allowed per game).
The Suns will rise for Game 2 with a 6-1 ATS record in their last seven as a favorite at home.
ROAD TEAM: Denver Nuggets (0-1, 0-1 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: Austin Rivers
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
Freshly minted as the official NBA MVP for the 2020-21 season, Nikola Jokic will look to lead the Nuggets in Game 2. Jokic scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, but only had three assists in the series opener.
He also had four turnovers and didn’t even have a single trip to the free-throw line. In fact, the entire Nuggets crew went just 5 of 6 from the charity stripe. The lack of aggressiveness by the Nuggets in that game was glaring, so it should be expected that Denver will attack the basket more and apply more intensity in challenging Suns defenders this Thursday.
Monte Morris should be itching to play after a horrible 1-of-10 shooting performance. He came up huge in the closeout game against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, scoring 22 points off the bench with nine assists and three steals. He will have to wake up and be the energy guy for Denver on both ends of the floor.
There’s also a chance that Will Barton will finally return to action in Game 2 after a long absence due to a right hamstring issue. He could still be rusty if allowed to return, but the Nuggets would love to have back the depth he brings to the team.
The Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
Spread: With how the Suns dismantled Denver in Game 1, many would find it hard to trust the Nuggets to win. But I just don’t think Denver will get just six attempts from the foul line again in Game 2. A more aggressive Nuggets squad will take the win as 6-point road underdogs.
Over/Under: It’s hard to bet on the Suns shooting 54.1 percent again. Take the Under 223.5