Chris Paul went off for 37 points and seven assists and Devin Booker added 34 as the Phoenix Suns promptly dispatched the Denver Nuggets in four games to advance to the Western conference finals. The last time Phoenix made the conference finals was coincidentally the last time they made the postseason. The Suns, considered underdogs entering the postseason, are now four wins away from the NBA Finals. Will Barton led the Nuggets with 25 points.
Nikola Jokic tallied 22 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected for a questionable Flagrant 2 call while attempting to swat the ball out of Cameron Payne’s hands. The league MVP will have to go back to the drawing board after a disappointing exit in an otherwise great season.
Paul and Booker masterfully controlled a game Phoenix never trailed in after Jokic’s opening bucket. The Nuggets already knew their fate as no team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs, but had the chance to at least send the series back to Phoenix for Game 5.
Bettors who took the Suns ahead of the postseason will feel great about their chances for a big payout. Phoenix was potentially being undervalued based on its performance during the regular season and teams in the past with the same profile. The Suns went up to +650 to win the title entering the second round according to DraftKings Sportsbook. They’ll be underdogs regardless of their opponent in the next round, but the Suns likely relish that role.
Paul showcased his veteran savvy in both of Phoenix’s series this postseason and appears fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Although Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is putting on a show, Devin Booker is also breaking out in the playoffs. Deandre Ayton has been a consistent force in the middle. The Suns will get some time to rest ahead of the conference finals and they’ll be confident entering that series.
Phoenix may have gotten some fortunate bounces with Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis going down in the opening round and Denver being without Jamal Murray, but you can only play the team in front of you. So far, the Suns have done that with ruthless efficiency. If bettors weren’t looking at them earlier, Phoenix has left them no choice but to take notice now.