Denver Nuggets (28-12) at Phoenix Suns (10-33)
NBA: Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9 PM ET at Talking Stick Resort Arena
Spread: Denver Nuggets -9
ESPN NBA Picks Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns
It’s the battle of David with Goliath tonight as the 1st seed in the West, the injury ravaged-Denver Nuggets take on a tanking Phoenix Suns that sit last in the western conference.
People are not giving enough credit to one of the most impressive teams we have seen in the recent years. Denver Nuggets, despite missing at least 3 starters for most of the season so far, have been able to achieve more than what was expected off them; and A LOT was expected out of them. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic have done tremendous job of carrying the team firmly to the top seed in a historically competitive Western Conference. Plus, did I mention that Will Barton, Gary Harris, Isaiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr have missed most/all of the season so far?
The Nuggets are 28-12 with a record of 7-3 in the last 10 games. Nikola Jokic is averaging a career high 19.2 points and dishing out 7.6 dimes per contest to go along with 10.2 rebounds and making a strong MVP case for himself. Denver Nuggets rank 5th in league in rebounding while going for 2nd most assists per game in the league. They rank 18th in points per game but they it is their elite defence that has made all the difference.
They rank 4th in opponent’s points per game, 3rd in opponent’s field goals and 6th in opponent’s assists per game. The Nuggets have been able to clean the boards at will, restricting their opponents to a mere 41.8 rebounds per game. Turnovers are their Achilles heel as they cough up 13.4 turnovers per game(6th in league).
It’s difficult to quantify Phoenix Suns’ season based on its face value and numbers because they do not seem very promising. They rank 26th in points per game, 29th in rebounds per game, 17th in assists per game and rank as the 25th most porous defence. This abysmal effort has seen them amass a record of 10-23 while sitting 10 games behind the second worst team in the conference; for reference and comparison, only 9.5 games separate the 14th and the 1st seed in the west.
However, this season was never about showing up, it was about developing the two future superstars they had in their roster while collecting the cap space and assets to contend in the near future. The Suns rank 2nd in steals while forcing their opponents to turn the ball over 15.7 times a game(rank 4th).
Devin Booker and last draft’s number 1 pick, DeAndre Ayton are the franchise centerpieces and both have been impressive so far. Devin Booker may have looked a little off his game but he is averaging 24.9 points per game to go with 6.9 assists(career high) and 1.1 steals . Ayton has fit in well in the league being a nightly double double threat with 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds.
CTS 365 Betting Trends
Denver is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Denver is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
Denver is 8-2-1 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Phoenix
Phoenix is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games
Phoenix is 2-8-1 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Denver
Phoenix is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
ESPN NBA Picks Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets have a clear edge in this mach up. They have dealt with their injuries pretty well and with the return on Paul Millsap in the line up, they have looked like the second best team in the league after the Warriors.
Suns have looked good in some games and Devin Booker is always a high scoring threat but it is tough to see a tanking Suns side getting any type of momentum against a Nuggets side who seems to be deeper than the Mariana Trench.
Pick: Nuggets -9