The top game this Friday night in the NBA is in Phoenix, where the Suns host the Denver Nuggets. Per various bookmakers, these two units have the biggest chances of winning the Western Conference, and that’s why everyone anxiously awaits to see them clash. Another reason is to see the current state of the Suns’ new player and former NBA MVP, Kevin Durant. KD returned to action two nights ago against the T-Wolves, posting a mediocre performance. On the other side, Nikola Jokic’s unit played last night and lost, but without the Serbian. This defeat complicates things for them and allows the Grizzlies to stay in the hunt for the top spot in the West.
Denver Nuggets (51-25, +200) broke their four-game winning streak last night against the New Orleans Pelicans, who easily triumphed at the Ball Arena. The final result was 107-88 for the guests who won all four quarters, showing that they aren’t to be underestimated despite all the circumstances.
On the other side, the Nuggets again proved that without Jokic, they are a mediocre team who would be fighting for the playoffs. The ball movement and the flow of the game without Jokic are visibly slower, and we aren’t even going to talk about the offense and its efficiency. The Nuggets made only four three-pointers and were outrebounded 46-40.
Jamal Murray definitely isn’t at the level before the injury, even though he had a team-high 21 points. Bruce Brown scored 19 off the bench, while Michael Porter Jr. ended the night with 10 points, missing all of his seven three-pointers and zero assists as usual.
Phoenix Suns (41-35, -250) are two and a half games away from the play-in tournament, and they, too, have to be very focused and composed in the remaining six events. If they enter some sort of a cold streak, we can easily see them in problems because the 10th-placed Thunder is 3.5 games behind.
The Suns are in solid shape, having won the past three events against the 76ers, the Jazz (on the road), and at home versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, 107-100. It was the first game for Durant following his ankle injury, and he didn’t do much.
KD scored 16 points, 5-for-18 from the field with eight boards and four assists, but it was refreshing for the Suns’ fans to see their biggest acquisition on the floor again. Devin Booker covered all the glitches with 29 points, while Chris Paul had 19 points with six assists.
Head to Head Games
This is the third meeting between these two units, and in the previous two, the Nuggets used the home-court edge, winning on both occasions, 128-125 and 126-97.
Jokic should play tonight, and his calf strain problems forced the back-to-back MVP only against the Pelicans. The spread on the Nuggets is +6.5, and in our humble opinion, the guests have all it takes to defend that gap. Why? First of all, despite KD’s return, he still needed to create proper chemistry with the team, especially in big-time games such as this one. Also, seeing the Nuggets at +200 is a bit underestimating. After all, they have one of the best players in the last decade playing for them and are the top seed in the conference.
Pick: Denver Nuggets +6.5 -110
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.
Leave a Reply