The Denver Nuggets’ Game 4 matchup with the Phoenix Suns could be the turning point of their 2023 NBA playoff series. With the pivotal Nuggets-Suns game looming, be making our Nuggets Game 4 predictions.
The Nuggets can take a commanding 3-1 series lead by defeating the Suns in Game 4 Sunday night. Only a handful of teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit in the history of the NBA Playoffs. Given that Denver has home-court advantage and Phoenix might’ve lost Chris Paul for the series, a Nuggets Game 4 victory could basically end the Suns’ championship hopes.
Denver thoroughly dominated the first two games of the series, winning both home games by double digits. The Suns outlasted the Nuggets 121-114 in Game 3 to stay alive in the series. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker carried Phoenix amid another outstanding performance by Nikola Jokic.
Phoenix’s dynamic duo could have trouble dragging the team to a second straight win. Let’s take a look at three bold Nuggets predictions for Game 4.
3. Denver Nuggets will hold Phoenix Suns to fewer than 100 points in Game 4
The Nuggets have already held the Suns below triple digits once this series. Phoenix didn’t come close to cracking the century mark in Game 2, losing 97-87 in Denver. Paul played for the Suns in that contest. Yes, Phoenix bounced back with a 121-point effort in Game 3, but the Suns will be hard-pressed to have a repeat performance in Game 4.
Booker and Durant combined to score 86 points on 56 field-goal attempts in Game 3. That’s an unsustainable pace, especially when looking at what happened in the first two games of the series. Denver’s defense, led by Aaron Gordon, has done a terrific job of holding Durant below 40% shooting in back-to-back games. Booker made plenty of difficult shots in Game 3 that won’t fall in Game 4.
In three playoff games, the Nuggets have held their opponents to fewer than 97 points in regulation. Denver has limited Phoenix to a 107.9 offensive rating in the second round. That would’ve ranked as the worst offensive rating for the regular season. Look for the Nuggets to make players outside of Booker and Durant take more shots.
2. Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic will have a 40-point triple-double
While the story of the Nuggets-Suns series seems to be the burden placed on Booker and Durant, Jokic has almost quietly had a dominant series. The two-time MVP has shown why he should be considered in the debate for the NBA’s best player. Jokic is averaging 31.0 points, 17.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists in three games.
Jokic had a 30-17-17 stat line in Game 3. Deandre Ayton did an admirable job defending Jokic in the playoffs two years ago. In Game 3, Suns coach Monty Williams benched Ayton in crunch time because he was so ineffective on both ends of the court.
Jock Landale and this version of Ayton have little prayer to match up with Jokic. Now that the Suns are one victory away from tying up the series, don’t be surprised if Jokic puts the team on his shoulders in Nuggets’ Game 4 victory.
1. Denver Nuggets will win Game 4 by more than eight points
The Nuggets have a 6-2 record in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Five of Denver’s victories have come by nine points or more. After their Game 3 loss, the Nuggets have still outscored the Suns by 21 points in the series.
With Paul healthy, the Nuggets have the more complete team in the series. With Paul sidelined, the gap between Denver and Phoenix isn’t a small one. Cameron Payne, T.J. Warren and Landry Shamet all played at least 25 minutes in Game 3. There’s a reason why those three players played fewer than 20 minutes combined in the series opener.
Jokic is arguably the best player in the series. Jamal Murray can come close to matching Booker’s production. Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. are playing better than any member of the Suns’ supporting cast. It’s going to be too much for Phoenix to overcome.
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