Denver (0-1) at Phoenix (1-0)
When: Wednesday, June 9th, 2021
Where: Phoenix Suns Arena,
Time: 9:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Phoenix -6/221
The Phoenix Suns put together a couple of big spurts in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets on Monday and look to hold serve on their homecourt. The Nuggets had no answer for Phoenix after going up 72-63 with 7:34 left in the third quarter. The Suns then erupted with 16 straight points and held control the rest of the way in a 122-105 victory. Deandre Ayton’s three-point play put Phoenix ahead at 74-72 with 4:26 left in the third before Devin Booker nailed a 3-pointer and Mikal Bridges added a basket to complete the run and give the Suns a seven-point lead. Denver made it a four-point game later in the quarter before the Suns reeled off 11 more consecutive points. The Suns’ lead in the second half topped out at 20 points. The Nuggets connected on 46.7 percent of their shots and were 14-of-40 from behind the arc, while the Suns shot a blistering 54.1 percent from the field and committed just 10 turnovers. The loss drops Denver to 4-2 ATS in their last six games overall. Phoenix is on a 5-1-1 ATS run following a straight-up win. The Suns are 6-point favorites heading into Game 2 with a total set at 222.
Denver was once again led by Nikola Jokic, who recorded 22 points and nine boards on 10-of-23 shooting but had a -13 rating. Aaron Gordon scored 18 points, while Michael Porter Jr. added 15, but the Nuggets can’t allow Phoenix to shoot over 50 percent. Facundo Campazzo chipped in 14 points and JaMychal Green recorded a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. The Nuggets only had six free-throw attempts in Game 1, while the Suns went 17 of 20 from the foul line. The free-throw disparity is not normal for this Denver team, who are averaging 21.7 free-throw attempts per game in the playoffs.
The Suns are playing with a lot of confidence right now and have won four games in a row after knocking out the L.A. Lakers in the first round. As a five-point favorite in Game 1, the Suns easily covered the spread thanks to an all-around performance by their core players. Veteran Chris Paul recorded his first double-double of this postseason with 21 points and 11 assists to go with six rebounds, while Bridges led the team with 23 points with four 3-pointers. Ayton was strong inside, collecting 20 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 9-of-13 from the field. Booker had 21 points and eight assists, while Torrey Craig led all bench players with nine points.
I still think this will be a long series. The Suns could do no wrong in the second half and I don’t see them shooting 54 percent from the field again. The Nuggets had control of this game, which gives me confidence they can hang with Phoenix. Look for Denver to be more aggressive on defense and keep this one close.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Nuggets +6