Game: Denver Nuggets @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:30 p.m.
Odds: Nuggets +8.5, Suns -8.5
Kevin Durant’s postseason readiness is not a concern for Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams. Williams is aware that the 13-time All-Star will soon get back to his best. When Phoenix hosts the visiting Denver Nuggets tonight, Durant will look to advance further. The Nuggets are first in the West and on pace to capture the franchise’s first-ever No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
On Wednesday, when he made his eagerly-awaited home debut in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Durant had a bad shooting night. Durant recorded 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 29 minutes while shooting 5-for-18 from the field in his return to action following a 10-game absence due to a sprained left ankle.
For Phoenix (41-35), which won its third straight game and is a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference, Devin Booker scored a team-high 29 points against Minnesota, and Chris Paul added 19. The Suns are confident that Durant, who they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at the trade deadline last month, will help them win a championship.
After losing their previous two meetings with the Nuggets, both in Denver, 128-125 in overtime on Christmas Day and 126-97 on January 11, the Suns are looking for their first victory over them this season.
The Nuggets (51-25) lost to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, 107-88, ending their four-game winning streak. Nikola Jokic, a center for Denver, was unable to play because of right calf tightness. Jokic averages 24.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game, and Denver’s poor performance against the Pelicans may have helped his case for the MVP.
In the defeat on Thursday, Denver made just 4-of-28 (14.3 percent) three-point attempts. Jokic’s absence, according to Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, was a significant factor in the team’s difficulties. Jokic has missed nine games already this season, and according to Malone, there’s a chance he won’t play tonight.
With six games remaining, the Nuggets have a three-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies for second place after Jamal Murray led the way with 21 points against the Pelicans. Murray, who played 36 minutes in the loss, might be rested as a precaution in the second game of a back-to-back set. He is listed as doubtful for tonight. Bruce Brown’s performance against the Timberwolves, which included 19 points off the bench, was a plus. Six of the last eight games for the fifth-year pro have seen him score in double figures.
Denver is only 3-6 SU in its last nine games against the Suns. The Nuggets are 2-7 ATS in those nine games. Phoenix has won its last three straight, but they are just 3-7 ATS in their last ten games. Ten of the Suns’ last 13 games have gone Over the total. Ten of Phoenix’s last 15 games against Denver have gone Over. Denver has seen the Under hit in its last seven straight games.
Join Oskeim Sports today and save 20% on your first purchase at the online store!