Round 2 : Preview
This is going to be a really good second round of the playoffs. Every single series is set to be amazing. There are a few things I’ve got my eyes on this match up, so let’s have a look.
Nuggets vs Defense
What are the Nuggets going to bring offensively? They defeated Portland 4-2 in the first round. In the two losses, Denver failed to score 110 points. In the 4 wins, they averaged 130 points. That’s a big difference!
Admittedly, that average was boosted by the double overtime classic, in which the Nuggets posted 147 points! Still, even removing that game, the Nuggets scored at least 120. Their offensive production will be more important when you consider how much better Phoenix is defensively than Portland.
Jokic vs Ayton
Jokic is the MVP. I don’t think you can argue that. Against Portland, he averaged 33/10/5. Even though his assists numbers were way lower than normal, they are still some pretty incredible numbers. Portland really emphasised taking away his incredible passing ability, holding him to just 1 assist in 2 of the games.
Ayton quietly had a phenomenal series against the Lakers. He shot almost 80% over the entire series! Along with that, he had double digit rebounding numbers in 4 of the 6 games.
You can’t stop Jokic. But if Ayton can keep manage to play him one on one and slow him down, that will be a huge advantage for Phoenix. If Ayton can score at 80% again, he may be able to draw some early fouls on Jokic.
How healthy is CP3?
This is pretty self explanatory. Chris Paul is so important to the success of this Suns team. I don’t think they can succeed without him. He had a few injury scares in Round 1 and you could tell when he wasn’t on the court. He still isn’t at 100% and if he misses significant time in this series, I don’t think the Suns can win.
Speaking of injuries, it is rumoured that Will Barton will return for Denver. That could be a big help for Denver.
The inconsistencies of Jae Crowder
Seriously, what is up with this guy? He’s basically Danny Green at the moment, and you know my feelings on Danny Green. To open the series against the Lakers, he made just 1 of his 20 three point attempts. One.
Last game, he made 6 out of 9. If you shoot the ball that well, you can be a huge part of your teams success. If you shoot it as poorly as he did earlier on, you will cause your team to lose.
Unfortunately, just like Danny Green, Crowder will never stop shooting. If he has an 0pher, that will really hurt Phoenix.
This is tough. I rate both teams fairly highly. Denver have performed well and have never once used their extensive injury list as an excuse. I think they might really start to miss Jamal Murray though. Coming up against a good defense, they could really use a guy who can create his own shots.
As I mentioned, the health status of Chris Paul is key here. He’s not 100%. but is cleared to go and he seems confident that he will be fine.
I’m going to take Phoenix in 6. Am I? Do I really want to bet against the MVP? No, I don’t. But I think Phoenix are the better squad, Suns in 6! 7. No, 6.