Game: Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Suns +5.5, Nuggets -5.5
The Denver Nuggets had a chance to sweep the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals after their two convincing victories at home. The Suns answered with two straight wins on their home floor and now the series shifts back to Denver.
The Suns tied the series with a 129-124 victory in Game 4 on Sunday thanks to blistering shooting from Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. Phoenix will try and capitalize on that momentum in Game 5 tonight in Denver. The winner will be one game away from the Western Conference championship. It’s likely that the Nuggets’ full roster will be available.
Nikola Jokic’s nudge of Phoenix owner Matt Ishbia during Game 4 could have resulted in a suspension from the league office, but the NBA allowed the technical foul and a $25,000 fine to serve as the punishment. That’s good news for Denver, which came close to winning Sunday night thanks to Jokic’s 53 points, a career-high. Jamal Murray added 28 points for Denver, but the rest of the lineup was ineffective. Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. each scored 11 points, but Phoenix’s bench outscored Denver’s reserves 40-11.
Landry Shamet, a guard for the Suns, finished with 19 points and five three-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter when Phoenix finally took the lead. Shamet made the difference despite Booker and Durant both having 36 points.
With Chris Paul out with a groin injury, the Suns have played at a faster pace. The veteran point guard is listed as out for tonight again. Phoenix has benefited from strong performances from Booker and Durant despite the veteran floor leader’s absence.
In the last two games, Booker has made 34-of-43 field goal attempts (79.1%) and shot 66.7 percent from beyond the arc. His ability to make mid-range jumpers and get open looks from behind the arc has contributed to his incredible stats.
The Nuggets are attempting to come up with a new plan of attack now that Booker and Durant have foiled Denver’s defensive strategies. In the first two games of the series, Denver held Phoenix to 107 and 87 points. In the last two games, the Suns exploded for 121 and 129 points. The losses in Games 1 and 2 are the Suns’ only losses in their last eight games. In all but one of those six wins, Phoenix scored at least 120 points.
Not surprisingly, the Over has cashed in four of the Suns’ last five games. It’s the same for Denver where the Over is 4-1 in the last five. Three of the four games in this series have also gone Over the total and in the last ten games played between these two teams, the Over is 7-3.
Denver has played very well at home this season. They are now 39-7 at Ball Arena and they have won their last seven straight at home. The Nuggets are 4-1 SU the last five times that they have hosted Phoenix.
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