Denver advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals by beating Portland 4-2, and Nikola Jokic had an amazing series
His 33.0 ppg with high efficiency was critical, the Nuggets killed Portland from deep with Jokic, Michael Porter Jr, and Monte Morris,
Their three top scorers, all making 41 percent of their threes. When you shoot like that you are tough to beat.
Phoenix was impressive in dispatching the Lakers in the first round. Anthony Davis’ injury was definitely a factor, but the Suns played very well.
Devin Booker was fantastic in the close-out game and you have to admire the way their players are stepping up in the moment despite not having much playoff experience.
During the regular season, these teams played each other about as closely as you can get. Denver won twice in Phoenix, both in overtime and Phoenix won in Denver by three points.
All of those games were in January though, and since then the Nuggets have lost some key contributors in Jamal Murray and Will Barton.
The Nuggets have found ways to win without them and are intriguing as underdogs in the series and in Game 1.
It’s not by a ton, but that is probably not a power rating difference, more likely a nod to playoff intensity.
So, for like most of Denver games this one will come down to their opponents’ ability to limit Nikola Jokic.