Will Devin Booker & Nikola Jokic Play Tonight? Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets Game 1: Prediction, Injuries & Lineups

Published 06/07/2021, 3:28 PM CDT
Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The Phoenix Suns face-off against the Denver Nuggets tonight at 10:00 PM EST. Given how both the teams defied the odds and beat the Lakers and Blazers, this match-up is truly the battle of the underdogs.

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The Suns certainly weren’t the favorites against the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. Despite being the second seed in a competitive Western Conference, the Suns found themselves as the underdogs in the first round.

While they did go down 2-1 in their series, the young Suns team fought back in some style. Limiting arguably the best player in LeBron James to the perimeter and knocking down their shots in the transition, the Lakers were simply no match for the young Phoenix Suns squad who have cemented their position as a contender.

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Jun 1, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) celebrates with Jae Crowder (99) as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on in the first half during game five in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets, meanwhile, have been the biggest surprise package of the Playoffs. Missing starters like Will Barton and Jamal Murray from the lineup, odds were stacked against the Nuggets. But Nikola Jokic and Co. certainly performed defied all odds in the first round.

While Jokic put his usual MVP numbers, it was the role players like Monte Morris, who stepped up for Denver in the last two games.

Forward Michael Porter Jr. also was impressive, averaging 18.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. If the Nuggets roster provides enough support to Jokic, Denver most likely could pull off an upset over the Suns.

Predictions

The Suns and Nuggets certainly make up for a great matchup. While the Suns have a pretty inexperienced lineup, they came up big against the Lakers. The Nuggets saw an all-round performance against the Blazers and were the worthy winners.

While the Nuggets do have MVP candidate Nikola Jokic on their side, they are missing some key players in Jamal Murray and Monte Morris.

Given the players that they are missing and the number of good perimeter defenders this Suns team has, Phoenix are the favorites to win this Game 1 clash.

Phoenix Suns: Injury updates and lineup prediction

The Suns will only miss guard Abdel Nader against the Nuggets as he is recovering from a knee injury. The Suns certainly have an edge with home-court advantage and given how they have performed in the Suns arena, Phoenix will be determined to win this game against Denver and take a 1-0 lead.

Jan 1, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) and guard Chris Paul (3) and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and center Deandre Ayton (22) and forward Jae Crowder (99) react following a fourth quarter time out against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Probable Lineup

Chris Paul (G)

Devin Booker (G)

Mikal Bridges (F)

Jae Crowder (F)

DeAndre Ayton (C)

Denver Nuggets- Injury updates and predicted lineup

The Nuggets will be missing three players due to injuries. Jamal Murray is sidelined for the rest of the season due to an ACL injury, shooting guard Will Barton is out with a hamstring injury while rotational guard PJ Dozier is sidelined with a groin injury.

Mar 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) talks with Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (7) and guard PJ Dozier (35) in the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Mike Malone will hope that his team, led by Nikola Jokic, can get going and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

Probable Lineup

Facundo Campazzo (G)

Austin Rivers (G)

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Michael Porter Jr. (F)

Aaron Gordon (F)

Nikola Jokic (C)

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Who will win between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets? Let us know in the comments below.

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Aditya Mohapatra

867 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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