10:18 pm
June 11

Suns @ Nuggets

Who will WIN this matchup?

Phoenix Suns (51-21)

@ Denver Nuggets (47-25)


Current odds:

Phoenix Suns: (+110)

Denver Nuggets: (-130)


The spread for the game is Denver by 2 points.

The battle has turned into a beating — at least in the first two games of the Western Conference second-round playoff series between the Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. The second-seeded Suns held serve at home with two decisive victories against the third-seeded Nuggets, and now the venue moves to Denver for Game 3 of the best-of-seven set on Friday night.

Paul, the 36-year-old point guard who has endured his share of playoff disappointments, might be looking at his best chance of reaching an NBA Finals. He was close three years ago with Houston, when the Rockets led the Golden State Warriors 3-2 in the conference finals only to drop the last two games. Paul sustained a pulled hamstring in Game 5 of that series and missed the final two contests. This year he was hampered in the first round against the Los Angeles Lakers with a shoulder injury but has recovered, as the Nuggets can confirm. Paul had 17 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers Wednesday night in Phoenix’s 123-98 victory, and in the two games he has 26 assists and one turnover.

While the Suns are looking for a commanding lead in the series Friday night, the Nuggets are searching for answers — and effort. After a 17-point loss in Game 1, JaMychal Green and Aaron Gordon said the Nuggets played soft. Wednesday night it was head coach Michael Malone who questioned the effort. Not even the return of Will Barton could spark Denver. He scored 10 points but was limited to 16 minutes in his first game in nearly two months after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Newly crowned MVP Nikola Jokic averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds in the first two games, but the rest of the Nuggets have struggled on offense. Michael Porter Jr., who is dealing with back issues, scored just 11 points in Game 2. Gordon had 18 in the first game but just six points Wednesday night, and backup point guard Monte Morris shot a combined 2-for-17 in the first two games. The Nuggets hope coming home will make a difference, as well as the postgame meeting after losing Game 2 by 25 points.

StreakSmarter Pick
Denver Nuggets