NBA playoff preview and tips: Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns - Game Three
Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns Game Three is a crucial one for the Suns. If they can't pick up a win to close the gap, then it's just a matter of time before the Nuggets eliminate them from the playoffs.
Suns are 5-1 straight up when playing at home against Denver. Suns are 6-1ATS in their last seven games as a favourite of 0.5-4.5 points. Suns are 26-10ATS in their last 36 games as a home favourite of 0.5-4.5 points. Nuggets are 2-6ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog in the playoffs.
Nuggets at Suns - Game Three verdict
The Phoenix Suns find themselves in a do-or-die situation on Friday. The Nuggets made full use of home-court advantage, opening up a 2-0 lead with a pair of double-digit victories. Nikola Jokic scored 24 points and added 19 rebounds in a dominant game-one performance, while Jamal Murray dropped 34 and spread the ball well with nine assists. Game two was more defensive, but Jokic scored 39 of the Nuggets' 97 points. In game three, the Suns outshot the Nuggets 95 to 76. That's a huge margin. Unfortunately for them, they made 40% and shot six of 31 from beyond the arc. The Nuggets were efficient, scoring 47.4%. The good news for the Suns ahead of game three is that the Nuggets had a losing road record during the regular season, 19-22.
The Suns can also take confidence from the fact they did lead the game until the final quarter before the Nuggets pulled away. They're both elite sides but being at home will allow Phoenix to close the gap. Whilst the Suns have outplayed the Nuggets to this point, and found no way to slow down Jokic, their levels should drop at the Footprint Center. The players will need to match the enthusiasm of the crowd early on and get things off to a fast pace. Defensively, the Nuggets do lack some rim protection, so Devin Booker and the Suns need to find those holes early and often. Equally, they need much better production from the bench. They contributed four measly points in game two and posed the question: Was trading for Kevin Durant worth sacrificing your depth? Whatever the answer, KD should do better than 24 points here and we expect the Suns to bounce back in game three of this NBA Western Conference semifinal.
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