The Denver Nuggets are set to begin their season against the team who knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago. The Phoenix Suns ended up two wins short of a title last year, dropping the final four games of a highly competitive series with the Bucks, who they just could not keep pace with. It was a good year for them, nonetheless.
The thing about the Nuggets this year is they are down a star. Jamal Murray is going to miss most of, if not the entire year, with the ACL injury he suffered in the regular season in 2020-21. And without him, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has to step his game up and continue to play at a high level. It is going to be on him to keep this team winning often.
As for Phoenix, they won so many games last year in large part thanks to their coach Monty Williams. After Milwaukee won Game 6, he went into the locker room and congratulated them personally on their title. He said he is now a better coach for having had the experience. Talk all you want about the team’s talent. It is the coach that has them thriving.
For both teams, the goals are the same. Try and make the Finals. No doubt.
Betting Odds & Lines
The spread for the contest is set at PHX -6. The over/under is 223.5 points. The DEN moneyline is +192, while the PHX line is -245.
Nuggets Seek Strong Start
Denver is pretty much returning the same roster they had last year. They signed Jeff Green, and he marks the only new guy they brought in who expects to play a role. They are hoping that the chemistry from last year can carry over and the team can find ways to win. Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo will get all of the point guard minutes.
They brought back Austin Rivers and Aaron Gordon, who will both be relied on heavily to contribute. Jokic can do some of everything and should be ready to shoulder a bigger load. Mike Malone has done a great coaching job here, and that should continue.
To win tonight, Jokic has to bully Ayton in the post. They need to make threes. And limit Devin Booker.
Suns Look for 1-0 Beginning
After losing four straight games to the Bucks in the finals following a 2-0 beginning to the series, Phoenix has to move on. They have had a nice offseason. They acquired Landry Shamet and extended him. JaVale McGee and Chandler Hutchison are here now, too. They also added Elfrid Payton for point guard depth.
The good news is Phoenix gave Mikal Bridges a four-year extension. The bad news is that they could not come to an agreement with DeAndre Ayton. They’ll hope to agree to terms this summer to keep him here for the foreseeable future. Chris Paul also re-upped for three more years.
Paul and Booker need to have big nights to ensure a win.
Nuggets Keep It Tight
An exciting battle will see Jokic and Ayton duking it out. The Nuggets will cover as underdogs.
- Denver +6
- Over 223.5
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