After picking up an emphatic win in Game 1 thanks to a late surge, the Phoenix Suns look to duplicate their series-opening feat when they play host to the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 Wednesday night.
The second-seeded Suns came through, as predicted, to cover the chalk as a 4.5-point home favorite, but will almost assuredly face a much stiffer test.
Will likely league MVP Nikola Jokic lead Denver to the huge road upset to level the series before it heads to Denver? Will Chris Paul lead Phoenix to another home win and ATS cover as a slightly bigger favorite than they were in Game 1? The NBA betting odds for this affair are live in the BetUS Online Sportsbook right now.
Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns
When: Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 10 p.m. ET,
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Radio: KMVP 98.7, S:KSUN
Nuggets Need MVP Performance
Jokic was good in Game 1 by going for 22 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. However, the versatile big man will need to be better after Suns center Deandre Ayton played him to a virtual standstill.
“When things aren’t going our way, we need to be more decisive,” Jokic said. “We need to know what we are doing as a group.”
Denver shot 47% from the field in Game 1 and 14-for-40 from 3-point distance (35%). Four players joined Jokic in double figures in scoring in the loss, but no one had an answer for Chris Paul.
“This game to me was eerily similar to Game 1 against Portland,” head coach Mike Malone said after the loss. “I think we had way too many breakdowns tonight from a coverage standpoint. I think seven of their 13 3s tonight were from the corners and a lot of that was missed assignments, not communicating. We gave up eight and-1s tonight. I think [we] had a soft mentality. You can’t give up eight and-1s in a playoff game. If you’re going to foul somebody, foul them, and not let them get the and-1.”
Denver Nuggets Trends
The Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Nuggets are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Conference Semifinals games.
The Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog.
Suns Dangerous With CP3
Chris Paul scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field and dished out 11 assists to lead the Suns to a 122-105 win. The future Hall of Fame floor leader took over late, scoring 14 points in the pivotal fourth quarter.
“Not impressed or surprised, just I’m happy that everybody is getting to see this on a national stage,” Paul said. “[Devin Booker] is special, been special. Now, everybody is just getting a chance to see it. Y’all [are] getting to see stuff that we already knew. Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, the grit that he brought to our team, Cam[eron] Payne; we have a real team, a great coaching staff and at the end of the day, we’re just having fun.”
Paul shot 2-for-8 before his fourth-quarter explosion.
“I don’t think not making shots is going to rattle him,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I think he’s more concerned with managing the game than his shooting percentage.”
The Suns got a handful of outstanding performances, with Ayton scoring 20 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Miles Bridges had a team-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a block. Devin Booker scored 21 points and Jae Crowder added 14 points and a trio of three-pointers. Phoenix outscored Denver by 10 points in the third quarter and 12 points in the fourth.
Phoenix Suns Trends
The Suns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
The Suns are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 playoff games as a favorite.
The Suns are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games.
Suns Scratch Out Win
While I’m definitely expecting Denver to put up more of a fight in game 2, particularly after getting called ‘soft’ by their head coach, I’m backing Phoenix for the second straight game to get the job done.
I love the way the Suns got positive contributions from everyone that stepped on the floor, and I don’t think the Nuggets have an answer for CP3 at the point guard position, especially with Jamal Murray out of the lineup.
The Suns are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 home games against a team with a winning road record, and 19-6-1 ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. On the flip side of the coin, it sure doesn’t bode well that Denver is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 road games against a team with a winning home record. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about the spread in Game 2. Phoenix gets it done by 10 to cover with room to spare.
Pick: Phoenix -6