NBA Playoffs Odds, Preview, Prediction for Suns vs. Nuggets Game 4: Denver’s Season is On the Line (June 13)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Paul (left) and Devin Booker.
- After three straight impressive wins, the Suns go for a sweep of the Nuggets.
- Phoenix's offense has caused big problems for Denver and MVP Nikola Jokic, who needs his teammates to step up in Game 4.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down which side he's backing, delivering his game breakdown and best bet for Sunday night below.
Suns vs. Nuggets Odds
|Moneyline||-150 / +130|
|Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet|
The Nuggets host the Suns on Sunday night for Game 4 as they hope to stay alive after falling into an 0-3 hole.
The Suns protected their home court in the first two games of the series then took a commanding three-game lead as they beat the Nuggets by 14 points (116-102) in Denver in Game 3.
The Suns have won all three games of the series by at least 14 points, but can the NBA MVP, Nikola Jokic, lead the Nuggets to a win or cover as three-point underdogs in Game 4?
Suns Out to Seal Sweep
If the Suns win and cover in Game 4, it will be because they continue taking smart shots and converting on their open looks.
Phoenix runs some of the best spread pick-and-roll offensive sets in the NBA, and its spacing and shooting has been the key to taking the first three games of this series. The Suns are a great team because their offense can beat teams in different ways, and the Nuggets have seen this firsthand.
Over the Suns last four games (the close-out game vs. the Lakers and the first three games of the Nuggets series),
Chris Paul has:
46 assists and only 4 turnovers.
46-to-4 AST-to-TO ratio is pretty good
Oh and CP3 is shooting 52% from the floor, 55% on 3PT’s and 100% on FT’s https://t.co/nCNepwvS1K
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) June 12, 2021
In the first two games of the series, the Nuggets defended pick-and-rolls with the roll-man’s defender (most often Jokic) meeting the ball-handler at the level of the screen. This hedging strategy forced Suns’ ball-handlers to make quick decisions, but this paid off for the Suns as their quick passes beat Nuggets defenders in rotations and led to open 3s.
In Game 3, the Nuggets played a drop-scheme defense more often, and the Suns made them pay as their elite guard duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker thrived on easy in-rhythm midrange shots as they combined for 55 points. Monty Williams and his staff have done a masterful job of keeping the Suns offense a step ahead of the opposing defenses, and I expect them to keep the upper hand against the Nuggets in Game 4.
The Nuggets simply don’t have the personnel to defend the Suns’ offense, and if the Suns convert on their open looks, they will pick up the sweep and fourth consecutive cover of the series on Sunday. Facundo Campazzo can’t guard the Point God, Michael Porter Jr.’s off-ball defense remains horrendous, and Jokic isn’t dynamic enough defensively to erase others’ mistakes like other bigs such as Rudy Gobert or Deandre Ayton.
Jokic Needs Supporting Cast to Step Up
If the Nuggets cover or win outright as road underdogs, Jokic must improve his efficiency from the field while Porter gets healthy and is a reliable second scoring option. PJ Dozier (right adductor strain) remains out along with Jamal Murray (torn ACL).
After scoring 26 points in the final two games against the Trail Blazers, both Portland wins, Porter has scored 15 points or fewer in each of the first three games of this series. He has been limited to 31 minutes or fewer in each game (either because of a back injury that has him at less than 100% or because the games were blowouts).
Without Murray, the Nuggets need someone to step up as a reliable second scoring option behind Jokic, and Porter needs to be that player. When he scores more than 17 points, the Nuggets have won three of four games this postseason, but when he scores fewer than 17 points, the Nuggets have lost four of five games.
Jokic also needs an incredible individual performance for the Nuggets to have a chance to win. He recorded 32 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists (with only two turnovers) in Game 3, but the Nuggets still lost by 14 points. He made just 13 of 29 field goals, and he will not only need to score at least about 30 points, but he must also be more efficient.
Jokic has increased his points, rebounds, and assists in all three games, but he has struggled from beyond the arc as he has made just four of 14 3-pointers in the series. Give credit to Ayton for playing quality defense without fouling while making the MVP work hard to score.
At least two of Monte Morris, Aaron Gordon and Will Barton must score efficiently alongside Jokic and Porter for them to stay alive in this series. Gordon’s defense on Booker will be important, but he must also put pressure on the rim with timely cuts and knock down open 3-pointers efficiently. Barton and Morris must be aggressive getting downhill to create shots for themselves or others, especially when they run the offense when Jokic rests.
As previously mentioned, the Suns have won each of the first three games of this series by at least 14 points and as just three point favorites without Murray miraculously coming available, the value remains on the Suns.
The Suns are simply the better team as they have significantly more paths to victory as their offense is much less reliant on one or two players having huge games. The Suns’ defense led by Ayton has made scoring tough for the Nuggets while their offense has stayed a step ahead of the Nuggets’ defensive adjustments.
Expect the Suns to get the sweep Sunday night and take them to cover at -3 with value up to -5.
Pick: Suns -3 (play up to -5)