Mikal Bridges and the Suns look to get up 2-0 on Denver Wednesday night (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets play Game 2 of their second round series on Wednesday, June 9th
- Phoenix has a 1-0 lead in the series after a spectacular second half performance in Game 1
- Read below for the latest odds, injury news and preview of the game
Despite taking a comfortable lead, the Denver Nuggets lost Game 1 of their series with the Phoenix Suns. Game 2 tips off on at 9:30pm EST on Wednesday, with the Suns only three wins away from their first Conference Finals appearance since 2009-10.
The Suns are favored by six points for Game 2 of this series. They battled hard to topple the defending champion Lakers in the first round, and their reward was a depleted Nuggets team. The sportsbooks have tabbed the Suns as favorites to win this matchup from the moment it was confirmed, and little in Game 1 suggested otherwise.
Suns vs Nuggets Game 2 Odds
|Team||Spread at DraftKings||Moneyline||Total|
|Phoenix Suns||-6 (-110)||+195||Over 222 (-113)|
|Denver Nuggets||+6 (-110)||-240||Under 222 (-109)|
Odds as of June 8th
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PJ Dozier is still listed as day-to-day on the Nuggets’ injury report. Michael Malone remains desperate for backcourt help, but it’s unclear if he’ll be getting any of it for Game 2. Will Barton was announced as out for Game 1 as he continues to deal with a hamstring issue. Jamal Murray (ACL) is out for the year.
Abdel Nader (knee) is the only name on the Suns’ injury report. He’s not available. Chris Paul (shoulder) has played through pain in these playoffs already and continues to suit up, even though he has been obviously restricted at points.
Suns vs Nuggets Projected Lineups
|Chris Paul||PG||Facundo Campazzo|
|Devin Booker||SG||Austin Rivers|
|Mikal Bridges||SF||Michael Porter Jr|
|Jae Crowder||PF||Aaron Gordon|
|Deandre Ayton||C||Nikola Jokic|
CP3 Is Back
Chris Paul inspired Phoenix’s Game 1 comeback. The All-NBA guard scored 16 points on nine shots in the second half, the most points of anyone in the game. He added four assists for good measure, taking him to 11 for the night. Having not looked himself at times in the first half, Paul was back to his best, nailing mid-rangers and dictating the game.
If the former Clipper is back at this level throughout the rest of the series, it’s going to be hard to look past the Suns. Able to get to his patented elbow jumper and pick out teammates, Paul put in the kind of performance which makes people take the Suns seriously as title challengers.
Chris Paul tonight:
He is the first player aged 36 years or older with a 20/5/10 playoff game since 1965. pic.twitter.com/PSR0TsAxdy
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 8, 2021
With CP3 draining shots and Mikal Bridges making four threes in the game, Phoenix managed to get a comfortable win with Devin Booker taking just 12 shots. That’s a scary sign for the Nuggets; Aaron Gordon did a great job on Booker, but he’s bound to get going at some point in this series.
Nuggets Need Backcourt Boost
The Nuggets are at a major disadvantage in the backcourt. They cannot expect to rival the production of Paul and Booker, but they need much more from Austin Rivers and Monte Morris. The pair combined for three-for-17 from the field in Game 1 after each enjoying big games in the first round.
Part of that is down to how much better Phoenix is than Portland defensively. It’s also simply a case of missing shots. Denver needs Morris and Rivers to be efficient. Morris, one of the better backup guards in the Association, was a game-worst -28 in the series opener.
Chris Paul had nice things to say about Denver’s backcourt and said they’ve done a good job replacing Jamal Murray by committee. He’s been tight with Monte Morris for a while through his camps and summer workouts. Said he plays the right way, can shoot/pass, doesn’t turn it over.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) June 7, 2021
Denver is overmatched in the backcourt. Even when playing hard on defense, Morris and Facundo Campazzo are too small to contest shots from Bridges, Jae Crowder or Booker. It will be interesting to see if Malone experiments with some bigger lineups again.
Back the Over for Game 2
Denver is going to take a game or two in this series. With a healthy Paul, Phoenix should progress, but as they showed against Portland, the combination of Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. can swing a game.
PHOENIX IS LIT RN 🔥
(via @Suns) pic.twitter.com/KJHmkREI45
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 8, 2021
With the Suns shooting 54.1% from the field in Game 1, this looks like it will be a high-scoring series. The 122-105 score cleared the points total for Game 2. While these teams both ranked in the bottom five in pace in the regular season, that level of offense is not unsustainable. According to the shots taken on ShotQuality.com, the expected score was 119-108.
Good offense tends to come out on top. This might not be an end-to-end affair, but there’s enough shooting and playmaking on these two teams to like the over even at 222.5.
- Pick: Over 222.5 points (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.