The Denver Nuggets face an uphill task in their Western Conference semi-finals series against the Phoenix Suns after going down 2-0. They return to Ball Arena on Friday for Game 3 and will hope to rally back with support from their home crowd.
Phoenix Suns veteran Chris Paul put in a scintillating performance in Game 2, registering 17 points and 15 assists with no turnovers. Five other players scored in double digits as the Suns dominated the Nuggets 123-98, handing them their biggest loss of the season.
2020-21 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic waged a lone war for the losing side, scoring 24 points on the night, while the rest of the starters accumulated only 26 points.
The Denver Nuggets struggled with their shooting all night, making just 40% of their shots from the floor, including 32.6% from beyond the arc and 60% from the foul line.
The Phoenix Suns dominated the paint and shot much better compared to their opponents. Monty Williams' side made 18 threes on the night. They also outrebounded the Nuggets 52-46 and outscored them in the paint 44-36.
Phoenix Suns Injury Report
The Phoenix Suns have ruled out Abdel Nader for Game 3. He has been out since March and is currently under rehab, recovering from a knee injury.
Denver Nuggets Injury Report
The Denver Nuggets will continue to be without PJ Dozier (groin) and Jamal Murray (ACL). The former is out indefinitely and has no timetable for a return, while the latter is out for the season.
Meanwhile, Michael Porter Jr. is listed as probable because of a lower back tightness issue that he has been facing since Game 1. However, with the Nuggets down 2-0, he will likely suit up to play on Friday.
Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets - Predicted Lineups
The Phoenix Suns are unlikely to make any changes to their starting lineup.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker will start as guards, while Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton will make up the frontcourt.
Meanwhile, Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig are expected to play the most minutes off the Phoenix Suns bench.
The Denver Nuggets could make some changes to their starting lineup. Will Barton provided a solid boost on his return from a lengthy injury and could start in the next game.
However, it remains to be seen if he is ready to start as the Nuggets don't want him to re-aggravate his hamstring injury.
If Barton isn't picked to start, the Nuggets will likely stick to the same lineup they have deployed in the playoffs so far. The backcourt will feature Facundo Compazzo and Austin Rivers, while Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Nikola Jokic will complete the rest of the lineup.
If Barton starts off the bench, he will likely play the most minutes among the Denver Nuggets' reserves, alongside Monte Morris and JaMychal Green.
Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets - Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Chris Paul | Shooting Guard - Devin Booker | Small Forward - Mikal Bridges | Power Forward - Jae Crowder | Center - Deandre Ayton.
Point Guard - Facundo Campazzo | Shooting Guard - Austin Rivers | Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. | Power Forward - Aaron Gordon | Center - Nikola Jokic.
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