The Denver Nuggets are looking to avoid losing a second straight road game to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, as they would even the second-round series between the teams before they head back to Denver for Game 5.
Phoenix is still expected to be without guard Chris Paul, meaning Kevin Durant and Devin Booker will have to carry the load once again in Game 4.
Denver nearly stole Game 3 despite Booker (47 points) and Durant (39 points) combining for 71 percent of the team’s points. It’s hard to ask them to sustain that pace, even though they are two of the best scorers in the NBA.
Phoenix’s bench has been an issue all postseason, and the team needs much more from center Deandre Ayton (four points, nine rebounds in Game 3) if it wants to pull off another win against Denver.
For the Nuggets, it’s hard to ask them to sweep the Suns, but the team may have some value in Game 4.
Oddsmakers seem to think so as well, as the Nuggets are just 2.5-point underdogs after closing as four-point dogs in Game 3.
Here’s a breakdown of the latest odds and my best bet for this contest:
Nuggets vs. Suns odds, spread and total
Nuggets vs. Suns prediction and pick
I think this is a great spot to take the Nuggets to win outright as underdogs.
Denver was in Game 3 the entire way, but ultimately it couldn’t slow Booker or Durant enough to win. I think that it’s going to be near impossible for the duo to replicate their showing in Game 3.
Durant scored 39 points on just 12-of-31 shooting, but he took a season-high 16 free throws in the game. Booker was incredibly efficient shooting an astounding 20-for-25 from the field.
While Durant may see some positive regression as a shooter, asking Booker to shoot 80 percent on 25 shots again is crazy.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets outrebounded the Suns by 10, made one more 3-point shot and won the points in the paint battle.
Ayton has been neutralized by Nikola Jokic in this series, and the Suns’ bench of Terence Ross, Landry Shamet, T.J. Warren and Jock Landale has been extremely inconsistent. The Suns received 22 bench points in Game 3, but they had just 29 total in the first two games of the series.
I expect Denver to take command of this series and win Game 4 on the road.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.