Fresh off their (4-2) win over the Lakers where they won the last three, including two at Staples Center, the stage is now set for the young, upstart Suns.
Led by the veteran “Point Gawd” Chris Paul and the ever-ascending Devin Booker, it’s time to now build off of that big series win, where, 17 of 18 NBA analysts at ESPN picked the defending champion Lakers in six games.
This matchup with the Nuggets — now highly anticipated — was once unexpected as most picked the Lakers and Blazers to faceoff.
But the “Valley of the Sun” and “Mile High City” had other plans.
Devin Booker will look to continue lighting it up and Nikola Jokic looks to continue doing it all for his team. The Suns and Nuggets match up solidly against one another, which bodes well for an exciting series.
Even so, I believe the Suns have the edge in this one, as they have the necessary tools needed to make a deep run in the playoffs. From an elite backcourt to a sound frontcourt they have few weaknesses.
Couple that with NBA Coach of the Year favorite Monty Williams and the job he’s done and this Suns team is gelling at the right time.
Center DeAndre Ayton just went toe-to-toe with all that Lakers size and played outstanding. He’s looking forward to clashing with MVP-favorite Jokic.
The expectation is, Booker will continue his ascension to superstardom and put up huge numbers, while Chris Paul will set the table and lead.
For the Nuggets, it starts and ends with Jokic, who’s missing his partner Jamal Murray, who’s lost for the year with a torn ACL.
Jokic is arguably the most skilled center in the NBA, and he’ll provide scoring, rebounding, and elite passing skills. Michael Porter Jr. has had a coming-out party as the complimentary piece to the “Joker,” and they’ll need that to continue.
The play of guards Monte Morris and Austin Rivers on both ends was essential against the Blazers and they’ll need that again if they wanna knock of the Suns.
Coaching is pretty even as I believe Monty Williams and Michael Malone will have their teams prepared.
I expect the Suns to win this series in six games and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010 when they were led there by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire.