Friday, June 11, 2021 at 10:00pm EDT
Pepsi Center , Denver
The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets will play Game 3 of their best of seven second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on Friday night. The Suns won the last game as -5.5 point home favorites 123-98 on Wednesday to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. The Nuggets hope the change of scenery helps them gain momentum in the series.
Suns Blazing at HomeChris Paul scored 17 points and had 15 assists with zero turnovers, and Devin Booker had 18 points and 10 rebounds as Phoenix crushed the Nuggets to take a 2-0 series lead. Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Mikal Bridges added 16 points for the Suns in a well-balanced team effort.
The Suns had a 10-point halftime lead and Jae Crowder added a pair of 3-pointers early in the third to make it 60-43. Phoenix took an 86-67 advantage into the fourth quarter. The Suns led by 31 in the final frame as Paul continued to push the tempo. ''It was one of our better defensive halves of the year against a good offensive team,'' Suns coach Monty Williams said to the Associated Press after the game. ''We were relentless with our effort, our communication, and coverages.'
Sippin’ chamPAYNE and watchin’ it RAIN. pic.twitter.com/BMMQg9XgaQ— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 10, 2021
The only relevant injury news on the Phoenix front is the status of forward Abdul Nader, who missed the game with a knee injury. Coach Williams and the Suns will be expecting a more concerted effort from the home team Nuggets on Friday after the poor second-half showing.
Nuggets Falter in Second HalfNikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Denver, a day after getting the NBA's Most Valuable Player award but it was not enough as the Nuggets were run out of the building in the second half against Phoenix. ''This was an embarrassing performance for myself all the way to the last player,'' Denver coach Michael Malone said to the AP after the game. ''We are walking out here with our heads held down and rightfully so.” The road team looked shell-shocked all night as Chris Paul ran a clinic on their defense. Michael Porter started and played 27 minutes, finishing with 11 points and six rebounds but shot just 3 of 13 from the field. Will Barton played for the first time in about six weeks, entering the game late in the first quarter. He played 16 minutes and had 10 points and was also called for a technical foul in the third. Both players were listed on the injury report before the game and looked particularly rusty throughout the contest. Nikola Jokic played well, but will need another scorer to lighten the offensive load on the MVP.
Stats & Trends
- Suns are 5-0 ATS in their last five facing Western Conference opponents
- Suns are 8-0 in their last eight facing Pacific Division opponents
- Suns are 5-0 in their last five games overall
- Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their last six games facing Pacific Division opponents
- Nuggets are 0-4 ATS in their last four facing a team with a winning % above .600.
- All trends found on oddshark.com and covers.com
Denver is already playing short-handed without their star guard Jamal Murray and will need Barton and Porter to play a key role alongside Jokic in order to get back in this series. They have not looked well coming off of their respective injuries, and that will continue at home playing as slight favorites on Friday against a Suns team that smells blood. Chris Paul looks to be fully healed after suffering a shoulder injury against the Lakers in Round 1. Phoenix is 5-0 in their last five games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall. The Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their last six games facing Pacific Division opponents and look to be outmatched against a hot-shooting Suns team. Take the Suns to win the game outright.