The Nuggets are now on the brink of elimination against a Suns team that looks unstoppable at the moment. Can they save face by getting at least one win in front of their home fans in this series?
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HOME TEAM: Denver Nuggets (0-3, 0-1 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: Austin Rivers
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets’ offense has all but disappeared in the Western Conference semis. Newly-minted league MVP Nikola Jokic is giving it the old college try while averaging 26.0 PPG, 14.0 RPG and 6.3 APG but he’s not getting anywhere near enough help.
Michael Porter Jr., who seems to still be hobbled with an injury, is averaging 13.7 PPG and 6.0 RPG while shooting 35.9% from the field. The only other Nugget averaging double figures is Will Barton with 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.0 APG.
Austin Rivers has all but disappeared and through three games has averaged 6 PPG on 35.3% shooting. Monte Morris, who was a key player in their previous series against Portland, is averaging 8.7 PPG against the Suns.
Someone needs to step up if the Nuggets are to survive another game, but it’s unclear as to who will be able to do it. Denver are 2-4 ATS as a home underdog, and 15-14 ATS after a loss.
ROAD TEAM: Phoenix Suns (3-0, 1-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Jae Crowder
- C: Deandre Ayton
Phoenix’s back court duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker are straight cooking. Booker is averaging 22.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 4.7 APG while shooting 51% from the field.
Paul, on the other hand, is doing his usual point god things but at insane efficiency: 21.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 11.3 APG. He has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 34:3 through their first three games, which is so bonkers that it wouldn’t even seem like a realistic stat line in a movie.
The other Suns are shining, too. The entire starting five is averaging double figures, with Mikal Bridges chipping in 16.7 PPG, Jae Crowder adding 13.0 PPG, and DeAndre Ayton continuing his quiet but consistent domination in the paint with 15.0 PPG and 11.7 RPG.
The Suns are winning by an average margin of 18.6 points. Just utterly dominant, and they probably want to end things early in Denver to make sure Paul gets even more time to rest his shoulder, which is clearly feeling fine now.
Spread: The Suns have been utterly unstoppable, and I think they close out the series and cover the -3 spread.
Over/Under: I think the Nuggets continue to struggle on the offensive end, so I’d take the Under 223.5.