PHOENIX SUNS

Nuggets open as slim betting favorites over Suns for Game 3

Jun 11, 2021, 8:07 AM
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during Game...

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) shoots over Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Monday, June 7, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

While the Phoenix Suns have blown the doors off the Denver Nuggets to take a 2-0 Western Conference Semifinals series lead, the No. 2 seed isn’t the favorite for Game 3.

Denver opened as a 1.5-point favorite as the series heads to the Mile High City on Friday.

If it holds until lines are locked, it will continue a six-year streak where the Nuggets were favored over the Suns in games at Ball Arena.

Plus, Denver has won in eight of its last 10 hostings of Phoenix.

But the Suns are on a 5-0 playoff winning streak, including their three straight victories to conclude the first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. They have also gone 5-0 against the spread over that span.

Over the first two games of this second-round series, Phoenix has defeated Denver by 17 and 25 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively.

Will the altitude and home crowd make a difference after Nuggets head coach Michael Malone called out his team following Game 2?

And can Nuggets center Nikola Jokic lift his team like the MVP he is? Jokic will be presented his MVP trophy before Game 3.

Regardless of how he’s fared against Phoenix center Deandre Ayton by averaging 23 points on relatively poor shooting 19-of-40 — that 48% is well below the 56% he shot this regular season — it’s not debatable how little help he’s received.

A big question for Game 3 is whether Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will be improved after playing through a back injury in Game 2. He shot 3-of-13 from the field and scored 11 points in 28 minutes on Wednesday.

The Nuggets did get a slight boost from wing Will Barton, who returned from a hamstring injury on a minutes restriction in Game 2 to score 10 points and dish out three assists in 16 minutes.

The Suns, meanwhile, enter the game in good shape health-wise. Point guard Chris Paul scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting and dished out 15 assists without a turnover as Phoenix took a two-game lead in the series, leading teammate Devin Booker to issue this postgame: “He’s back, and he’s feeling it.”

Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MARCH 30: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA game...
Nicholas Hodell

Suns G Chris Paul partners with Gopuff to assist underrepresented businesses

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul is helping underrepresented businesses and entrepreneurs through his partnership with Gopuff.
3 days ago
Credit: @cedceballos / Twitter...
Nicholas Hodell

Former Suns F Cedric Ceballos says he is COVID-19 free, but still in ICU

Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos tweeted on Sunday that he is COVID-19 free, but also that he is still recovering in an intensive care unit.
6 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Associated Press

Tech data shows Arizona’s busy sports gambling activity

"Arizona ... had more wagered online than mature states like Michigan, Colorado and Tennessee at the FanDuel Sportsbook,” a spokesman said.
7 days ago
Images of the FanDuel sportsbook inside Footprint Center. (Photo by luiscolato.com)...
Associated Press

What to know as legal sports gambling begins in Arizona

Which in-person betting services are open Thursday? What other sportsbooks are still coming? And how did Arizona get here?
11 days ago
Photo by luiscolato.com...
Arizona Sports

Suns release images of FanDuel sportsbook at Footprint Center as betting opens in Arizona

See pictures inside the Phoenix Suns FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center. Legalized betting opens in Arizona on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
11 days ago
...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Devin Booker featured on Kicks Magazine cover

Devin Booker studies the details. And in reading the featured story for SLAM's latest edition of KICKS Magazine, fans can get a sense of that.
12 days ago
Nuggets open as slim betting favorites over Suns for Game 3