Phoenix grabbed an early 2-0 lead in its Western Conference semifinal series with Denver. The Suns pick-and-roll has been virtually unstoppable as the series heads to Denver where the Nuggets are in desperate need of at least one win.
NBA MVP Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2, but his teammates left him hanging. No other Nuggets could score consistently and Denver got blown out 123-98. With the series shifting to Denver, will the Suns fall victim to letting the foot off the gas or will they continue to hammer the Nuggets?
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Game: Phoenix Suns (57-23, 48-30-2 ATS) at Denver Nuggets (51-29, 38-42 ATS)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, June 13, 2021
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
Current Line: OFF Total: OFF
TV Coverage: TNT
Denver opened as a 1.5-point favorite in Game 3 at online sportsbooks. Remember, the Nuggets enjoy a little bit more of a home court advantage since they play at elevation. It’s a little harder for teams not used to the elevation to get used to it in a short amount of time.
Still, after Games 1 and 2 it’s hard to see how Denver can overcome a Phoenix offense that is on fire. Over their last three games - all postseason of course - the Suns have the NBA’s most efficient offense.
The 36-year-old Chris Paul has been outstanding. In Game 2, the veteran point guard scored 17 points, dished out 15 assists, and had zero turnovers. Deandre Ayton has been everything the Suns imagined earning another double-double - 15 points, 10 rebounds - in Game 2. Leading scorer Devin Booker added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
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With that kind of balance and dominance thus far in the series, it’s hard to see how Phoenix falls victim to the 0-2 home team. Teams that fall behind 0-2 in a playoff series and then return home for Game 3 do extremely well, at least in the first half.
Over the past five seasons, such teams are 29-6 against the first half spread. The idea is that the team up 2-0 takes a break, so to speak, and the team down 0-2 knows it can’t fall behind 0-3 in the series because no NBA has ever come back to win a series from such a deficit.
If the Nuggets do play much better in Game 3’s first half, can they sustain it against the Suns? For the season, Denver was below .500 in cover percentage with a 38-42 record ATS. The Nuggets are 2-3 ATS in their last five games and 5-5 ATS in their last ten.
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Phoenix, on the other hand, is 5-0 ATS in their last five games. The Suns have the best record - 48-30-2 - ATS in the NBA.
With the spread at 1.5, it’s a tough call. That’s why the better play is on the total. The Suns have scored over 120 points in both games in the series so far. The Denver defense isn’t going to slow them down.
To have a shot at a win, that means Denver is going to have to step up its offense. Don’t forget, the Nuggets are the seventh-highest scoring team in the NBA at 115.2 points per game. They are just ahead of the Suns in the points per game standings.
As a result, Sunday’s total is going Over. The Over has hit in 12 of the Suns’ last 18 games and seven of Denver’s last nine.
NBA Free Pick: OVER up to 223.5