The Denver Nuggets face the unenviable task of preventing a sweep when they host the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 on Sunday night. Michael Malone's men have been thoroughly outplayed in each of the three previous matchups in this Western Conference Semifinals series.
Fixture: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets | Game 4, 2021 NBA Playoffs
Date & Time: Sunday, June 13th, 8 PM ET (Monday, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
Phoenix Suns Preview
It's been a case of a complete team effort from the Phoenix Suns so far. Chris Paul has led the way with his experience, but all five of their starters have scored in double-digits in each of the three games. They've defended with tenacity as well, restricting the Denver Nuggets to just 42.6% shooting in the series so far.
Devin Booker was on a tear against the LA Lakers, but he hasn't had to force the issue for the Phoenix Suns himself. He still exploded for 28 points in Game 3. Booker has averaged 22.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game against the Denver Nuggets.
Center Deandre Ayton has also stepped up big time and played a huge role in keeping Nikola Jokic quiet. Ayton is averaging 15 points and 11.7 rebounds per game against Denver. Mikal Bridges has arguably been the Phoenix Suns' best defender while averaging 16.7 points in the West Semifinals.
Key Player - Chris Paul
Chris Paul's suaveness has been in full display against the Denver Nuggets. The Phoenix Suns' floor general has dissected the Nuggets' defense effortlessly with his passing range, recording 34 assists in the series while committing just three turnovers. Paul used his mid-range jumpers to full effect in Game 3, scoring 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He's averaged 21.7 points and 11.3 assists against Denver so far.
Phoenix Suns Predicted Lineup
G Chris Paul, G Devin Booker, F Mikal Bridges, F Jae Crowder, C Deandre Ayton
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets managed to claw their way back from two 1-3 deficits in the 2020 playoffs, but now they find themselves down 0-3. The script for each of their losses has been fairly similar, with the Phoenix Suns taking over proceedings in the second half.
Nikola Jokic has put his best foot forward but hasn't received much help from elsewhere. Only two other Denver Nuggets players have managed to score in double digits besides Jokic – Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton.
Porter Jr. was expected to fill in for Jamal Murray but has averaged just 13.7 points through three games. Aaron Gordon hasn't been too inspiring either, and the athletic wing managed just four points on 2-of-10 shooting in Game 3. Monte Morris showed some fighting spirit in the same game with a 21-point performance off the bench.
Key Player - Nikola Jokic
It's all about Nikola Jokic in Denver right now. The Joker was honored with his MVP trophy before tip-off in Game 3 and he marked the occasion by recording 32 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. Even this wasn't enough to lead the Denver Nuggets to a win against the Phoenix Suns. Jokic has averaged 26 points, 14 rebounds and 6.3 assists through three games in this series so far.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
G Facundo Campazzo, G Will Barton, F Michael Porter Jr., F Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic
Suns vs Nuggets Match Prediction
It's hard to envision the league MVP getting swept, but the Phoenix Suns have completely dominated the Denver Nuggets so far. Monty Williams has been happy to put multiple men on Nikola Jokic, and once he slows down, the Denver offense just seems to stagnate.
The Phoenix Suns' incredible depth also gives them the edge. They have multiple scoring threats and the Denver Nuggets just haven't been good enough defensively. Even though Jokic will probably put up huge numbers once again, expect the Suns to win Game 4 and clinch the series.
Where to watch Suns vs Nuggets?
National telecast of this matchup will be available on TNT. You can also live stream the same on NBA League Pass.