The Denver Nuggets try to snap a three-game losing streak when they take on the red-hot Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. The opening tip for this contest is scheduled for 8 pm ET at Footprint Center in Phoenix.
Denver is coming off a 114-108 setback to the visiting Chicago Bulls on Friday night, its third straight loss and second straight at home. The Nuggets are 9-7 and in second place in the Northwest Division, trailing the first-place Utah Jazz by two games and leading the third-place Portland Trail Blazers by a half-game.
The Suns have won 11 in a row, including sweeping a two-game mini-series with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday and Friday. Phoenix is 12-3 and in second place in the Pacific Division, trailing the first-place Golden State Warriors by 1½ games.
Missing The MVP
Denver is uncertain if the reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic, will be available for this one. Jokic missed Friday’s loss to the Bulls with a wrist injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest.
Jokic led the way in the Nuggets’ win in Phoenix to start the 2021-22 campaign, finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds. He’s averaging 26.4 points, 13.6 rebounds (second in the league) and 6.4 assists per contest, so Denver needs him to play to have a chance in this one.
Forward Will Barton has been the next best scorer for the Nuggets this season, averaging 17.1 points to go with 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He’ll be looked to for more production in this one if Jokic is unable to go.
The Suns are quietly cruising along with only three losses, as the division-leading Warriors get most of the headlines. The team’s current 11-game winning streak is the longest for the franchise since 2006-07, something veteran guard Chris Paul is quite proud of.
“Guys don’t take this for granted,” Paul said after Friday’s win. “The locker room is great. Sometimes you can win games, and it feels like you lost in the locker room. But the locker room’s great, and the spirit is right.”
Paul had 18 points and 14 assists in Friday’s win over Dallas, one of six scorers in double figures. The 36-year-old is averaging a double-double with 14.4 points and a league-leading 10.7 assists per game.
His backcourt mate, Devin Booker, has been playing very well too. Booker leads the Suns with 22.7 points per game, adding 5.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest.
The Suns also have center Deandre Ayton back in the lineup, and he’s been a beast on the boards. Ayton came back Monday after missing 10 days with a leg contusion, and he’s averaged 16.3 points and 14.0 rebounds in his three games back.
Suns Win Again
Denver may or may not have Jokic, but it probably won’t matter with the way Phoenix is playing right now. The Suns want a little revenge for the season-opening loss and will take care of business at home in this one.
When making your NBA picks, take Phoenix to win and cover at home.