After dropping Game 1, the Denver Nuggets will look to even up their series with the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 on Wednesday night, while the Suns will be pushing to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Denver held a one-point lead at halftime of Game 1, but the Suns took over in the second half, as they outscored the Nuggets by 18 points over the final 24 minutes of the contest. It was a balanced effort from Phoenix, as all five starters scored at least 14 points in the game. MVP finalist Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver with 22 points, but he'll need to be better moving forward, as his production clearly wasn't enough in the first game.
Here's everything you need to know about Game 2 between the Suns and Nuggets.
(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) Denver Nuggets
- Date: Wednesday, June 9 | Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Phoenix Suns Arena -- Phoenix, Arizona
- TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT
- Odds: DEN: +210 | PHO -250 | O/U: 222 (William Hill Sportsbook)
Suns: One of the biggest factors in the Suns' success so far this postseason is the play of Deandre Ayton, Ayton played very well against the Lakers in the first round, and that continued in the first game against the Nuggets. Ayton made things difficult on both ends for Jokic in Game 1. He made him work for his points (Jokic shot just 10-of-23), and he also made him work defensively (Ayton scored 20 points). Jokic and Ayton matched minutes in Game 1, and the Suns won those minutes by 13 points. If that trend continues, the Suns should be able to win the series.
Nuggets: There's no reason for Denver to panic after their Game 1 loss, they just have to sustain their effort for a full 48 minutes moving forward. They were very solid in the first half of the first game, but they seemed to lose focus in the second half, as Phoenix took advantage of lapses on the defensive end. The Nuggets will need Jokic to be a bit better in Game 2 too, as he shot under 50 percent from the floor and scored only 22 points in Game 1. Against a team with as much firepower as Phoenix, that's not going to get it done, especially without Jamal Murray. They obviously won't want to fall behind 2-0 in the series, so look for the Nuggets to come out focused and motivated in Game 2.
The Suns dominated the second half of Game 1, and they'll look to carry that momentum over to Game 2. Without Jamal Murray, the Nuggets just might not have enough firepower to keep up with the Suns, who appear to be clicking on all cylinders. Plus, if Ayton continues to play as well as he has so far in the playoffs, the Suns will have a huge advantage. Pick: Suns -6