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NBA Playoffs: Suns vs Nuggets Game 6

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray gestures after hitting a 3-point basket against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA Western Conference basketball semifinal playoff series Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Phoenix Suns face a do-or-die situation in Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs. The Suns are trailing the Nuggets 3-2 in the series and must win to keep their championship aspirations alive.

Led by superstar Devin Booker, the Suns have been a formidable force in the playoffs, boasting a sparkling 117.6 offensive rating and leading the playoffs with 49.8% shooting from the field and 18.7 fast break points per game. Booker has been playing at an MVP level, leading the league with 35.9 points per contest and shooting 60.1% from the field and 51.7% from 3-point range in playoff action. He has also been facilitating his teammates’ success with 7.1 assists per game. Booker’s elite production is complemented by the addition of former MVP and future Hall of Fame selection Kevin Durant, who has been averaging 29.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game in the playoffs.

Despite the Suns’ impressive offensive display, the Denver Nuggets present a formidable challenge. Led by MVP runner-up Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have been dominant on offense, scoring 117.8 points per 100 possessions in the postseason, the highest in the Western Conference. Denver is shooting 48.5% from the field and 38.0% on 3-pointers in playoff action, and boasts a stellar 31.4% offensive rebound rate, averaging 25.3 assists per game and leading the playoffs with 52.8 points in the paint per contest.

Jokic has been the catalyst for the Nuggets’ success, averaging 30.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game while shooting 53.4% from the field and 48.7% from 3-point range in the playoffs. Against Phoenix, Jokic has been even more dominant, generating 35.0 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 10.0 assists per contest in the first five games of the series.

Despite the absence of Chris Paul, the Suns have been formidable opponents for the Nuggets, and with the home-court advantage in Game 6, they will be looking to even the series and force a decisive Game 7. The betting lines and trends suggest a close contest, with the Suns favored by two points and the over/under set at 224.5 points. While the Nuggets have a winning record against the spread on the road, the Suns have been impressive at home, covering the spread in over 50% of their games.

The stakes are high for both teams, with a trip to the Western Conference Finals on the line. Will the Suns be able to stave off elimination and force a Game 7, or will the Nuggets advance to the next round and continue their quest for a championship? Only time will tell.

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