The Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns will continue their Western Conference semifinal matchup with Game 2 on Wednesday evening. Phoenix prevailed in Game 1, overcoming a second-half deficit with stellar play and pulling away in what became a 122-105 win in their home building.
As often, Devin Booker and Chris Paul were tremendous in Game 1, scoring 21 points each (on strong efficiency) and combining for 19 assists. Phoenix holds a sizable advantage in the backcourt against Denver, particularly with the Nuggets operating without Jamal Murray. However, that wasn’t the only source of effectiveness for the Suns in Game 1, as Deandre Ayton (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Mikal Bridges (23 points) showcased their immense talent. While it may be aggressive to suggest that Ayton outplayed Denver’s Nikola Jokic, the fact that it was a close battle is a good sign for the Suns, leaving the Nuggets in a more urgent position as Game 2 arrives.
Jokic was crowned as the 2020-21 NBA MVP on Tuesday and deservedly so. He operated below his normal efficiency level despite 22 points and nine rebounds in Game 1, but the bigger issue for Denver was their defense, particularly in the second half. The Suns scored 65 points, despite a slow pace, after halftime, and it will be a challenge for the Nuggets to right the ship in their coverages for Game 2 and beyond. In addition, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone noted post-game that Michael Porter Jr. didn’t return in the fourth quarter due to a tweaked back, and Jokic needs all the help he can get as Denver tries to avoid an 0-2 deficit.
From a betting standpoint, Game 1 went Over the total of 222.5 points and Phoenix covered the closing point spread of six points as a favorite.
Game 2 TV Info
Tip Time: Wednesday, June 9; 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Network: TNT
Game 2 Betting Lines (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Series Prices: Suns (-400), Nuggets (+300)
Spread: Suns -6 (-110), Nuggets +6 (-110)
Total: Over 222 (-113), Under 222 (-109)
Money Line: Suns (-240), Nuggets (+195)