- The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns meet on Friday night
- This is the first game of a back-to-back between the two teams
- Read on to find our odds, preview, and best bet for this Western Conference matchup
The Denver Nuggets will visit the Phoenix Suns on Friday, January 22nd, tip-off 10pm ET. Mike Malone’s team is currently 7-7 after a win over the Thunder on Tuesday night, which means they’ll head into this contest well-rested.
Phoenix last played on Wednesday night, beating the revamped Houston Rockets on the road behind Deandre Ayton’s 26 points and 17 boards.
The Suns and Nuggets already met once this season on New Years Day, with Devin Booker and co. securing a slim 106-103 victory. Friday’s game will be the first of a back-to-back at Talking Stick Resort Arena between these two teams.
Nuggets vs Suns Odds
|Denver Nuggets||+1.5 (-110)||+102||O 219.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-1.5 (-110)||-120||U 219.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan 21 at Fanduel
Denver Slowly Finding Their Way
The Nuggets are currently playing .500 basketball, but they’ve been improving in their last handful of games. Denver has won six of nine after a victory over the OKC Thunder on Tuesday. Nikola Jokic led the way as per usual, dropping 27 points in just three quarters.
Although it wasn’t necessarily a tough opponent, this victory was a step in the right direction for the Nuggets. They’re starting to play more as one unit rather than just Jokic doing it all. Monte Morris and Will Barton contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Paul Millsap and Gary Harris also put up some respectable numbers.
The wild card though has been Jamal Murray, who broke out in last year’s playoffs. The Canadian guard had just five points against OKC and is only averaging 19.2 points per night. He is dealing with an elbow injury though which seems to be affecting his offensive output.
The numbers Murray is posting aren’t awful by any means, but after his heroics in the postseason, Denver is expecting the former Kentucky standout to take that next step.
Jamal Murray ditched the shooting sleeve for this bucket 😂 pic.twitter.com/nk7zMXOavf
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 20, 2021
In order for this team to make a legitimate run in the Western Conference again, Murray will need to be firing on all cylinders alongside the Joker. The first step to that will be getting completely healthy, even if it means the 23-year old misses time.
Michael Porter Jr, who showed promise at the tail end of last season and posted solid numbers early on this year, is nearing a return from his COVID-19 diagnosis. He’ll continue to be a key piece in the Nuggets rotation moving forward. Porter Jr. has the potential to emerge as a superstar with continued development given his versatile skill set, but only time will tell if that proves to be true.
Suns Big Three Coming Together
With the Chris Paul signing in the offseason, Phoenix was instantly looked at as a possible contender in the West. With Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker already at the forefront, Paul was just another weapon who could propel this team to the postseason.
The 10-time All-Star is dishing out 8.2 assists per game and although his scoring numbers are down, Paul is definitely making an impact.
Booker is off to a slow start, but we know exactly what the former Kentucky star is capable of. He’ll find his way soon enough.
Ayton had a monster game against Houston on Wednesday night, showing the type of potential that made him the number one overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Consistency has been an issue for the former Arizona star though this season.
Ayton has enjoyed several performances of 20 or more points, then he’ll fall off a cliff and collect just eight the next night. The Suns big man averaged just under 20 points last season and if he can get back to that level along with Booker and Paul finding their best form, this team will be scary.
Ayton has fared extremely well against Jokic and the Nuggets, averaging 27.6 points and 15.3 boards in three appearances.
The Suns are playing well on home court this season, losing just once. They’re also 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Denver, on the other hand, is 5-9 against the spread in this campaign.
With Murray’s inconsistencies and home-court advantage for Phoenix, I like Monty Williams’ squad for another ATS victory. Even with another strong Nikola Jokic performance, the Suns will secure a win here.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -1.5 (-110)
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