The first of the four second-round series to kick off will happen in Denver as the Nuggets play host to the Suns. This promises to be an incredible series, unlike their meeting a few years ago, which was a sweep for the team from Phoenix. There is a lot of talent to be had, with a number of MVP trophies flying around down the floor against one another. The greatest scoring duo against perhaps the top player in the association.
As the teams prepare to battle, it is going to be on Denver to try and play enough defense to slow their opponents down. As great as Nikola Jokic is and has been, defense is his big question mark. He has guided his team to just one conference finals, and if he wants to do it again, he will have to step up on that end of things.
Betting Odds & Lines
- Spread: Nuggets -3
- Moneyline: Nuggets -147, Suns +123
- Over/Under: 226.5 points
Phoenix Seeks Road Success
After knocking out the Clippers in five games in the opening round, Phoenix was able to punch their ticket into the second round. It changed things up for them in the best way that Kawhi Leonard went down after two games. It took everything they had and 45+ minutes for Devin Booker and Kevin Durant just to skate away from the Russell Westbrook-led squad.
The depth has been called into question before, and it could happen again during the series. The team really doesn’t have many others who can compete at the highest level outside of their starting unit.
There are winners on the team, but the lack of anything else is tough to see. They do have the necessary resources to start the series with a victory, but nothing’s a guarantee.
Denver Seeks to Start Strongly at Home
With Jokic on their roster, they are always going to be a tough team to beat. A seven-foot playmaker who puts up triple-doubles at an insane rate. There isn’t much he is unable to do on the offensive end of the floor, and he has proven himself over Joel Embiid as the top big in the association in years past.
With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. both back, they have all the top guys they were missing for the past couple of playoffs when things didn’t go as well for them.
Mike Malone has done a masterful job here, and a lot of the success really is on the coaching he has done, compared to some of the scoring and playmaking that has happened. The bench depth has been called into question, but they have a number of options to throw into the game if things do go south.
Jeff Green, Christian Braun, and Bruce Brown have been the only three to get regular minutes off the pine. But Reggie Jackson, Thomas Bryant, Ish Smith, and Zeke Nnaji could all contribute if needed.
Nuggets Take Game One
Home court advantage in the altitude makes a difference. Jokic and company are going to take the victory and open the series with a 1-0 edge.