Denver Nuggets needs to maintain a quality that characterizes it, even in recent years: His resilience and competitive spirit allows him to react in the best way to adversity. Without going any further, we are talking about a set that in the Playoffs Pasados recovered twice from a 3-1 deficit. What’s more, in the First Round of this year he returned with some authority after losing each of his games. Of course for this Game 2 vs. Phoenix Suns history poses a different challenge, as the Arizonans are showing themselves as a seamless set and with all the credentials of a candidate.
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Schedule and how to watch Phoenix Suns vs. Denver nuggets
The match will be at 20:30 in Mexico and 22:30 in Argentina, and as usual you can see Live and on demand via NBA League Pass, the platform streaming official of the league to which you can subscribe from here. In addition, it will be broadcast by ESPN for all Latin America.
The 2020-2021 season is here, the NBA League Pass it’s your place to watch the action, and now you can do free around here. ✅ 7-day free trial ✅ Live and on demand matches ✅ The opportunity to watch everything on your favorite device.
Denver, his aggressiveness in attack and defense
Game 1 yielded significant data illustrating a negative point for the Nuggets: his lack of aggressiveness. The number? Denver tried just 6 free throws (against 20 for the Suns). Interestingly (or actually not so much), in the J1 against Portland they also fell below the double digit of attempts (8) and were surpassed with authority. Translation? Denver needs to show another face in its determination and aggressive spirit.
“When we beat Portland we were the ‘attacking’ team in every win, the most physical team. That has to happen now. When you settle for a pitch, it’s difficult for a referee to call a foul. Sometimes you have to lower your head and go to the rim, putting pressure on the referee to collect. We need everyone to have an aggressive mindset“Malone said after J1.
Let’s agree that those from Colorado are not a team particularly used to putting pressure, for example, from their penetrations. In Regular Phase they averaged 34.2 penetrations per game as a team, second-lowest mark in the entire NBA. In the First Round against the Blazers they maintained their place as second starting from the bottom, with a slightly higher record (36), while in J1 against the Suns they totaled 34. The key to this? Malone wants his team to set the pace and attack faster when it can to prevent the Suns from being parked on defense, considering Arizona’s are the second most efficient defense of these Playoffs (104.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).
Speaking of defense … Denver has, by far, the worst defensive rating among the teams still in the race in these Playoffs. Malone’s are allowing 123 points per 100 possessions after seven games. The one who follows him? Utah Jazz, just appearing with a 115.3 defensive rating. Yes, the Nuggets need to step up on this side as well.
Porter Jr, between inconsistency and inconvenience
Denver has a clear account when it comes to thinking about its success: need that Michael Porter Jr. be your best possible version, the one that he showed in the second half of the Regular Phase and that he strengthened as Jokic’s second guitar after Jamal Murray’s injury, but that has not been the same in these Playoffs. Or at least, has not had the same consistency, alternating a forgettable passage in the series against Portland with a great closing.
In the J1 against the Suns he finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists (6-13 field, 3-8 triples). Correct numbers, albeit below his average and what Denver needs to be successful. But of course, there is one more point in your situation: in the second half he finished with just 3 goals and 1-5 in shots in 14 minutes, coinciding with the moment when Phoenix took control and with something else: a back pain.
Malone said after the game that he had felt a kind of pull at the end of the first half and that didn’t see him moving at all comfortable in the second half, and in part that was the reason for closing the clash with JaMychal Green instead. Anyway, the coach launched that he had no doubts that he would be in condition to reach this meeting after the treatment between games, so his presence (except for something strange) is guaranteed. Anyway, we will have to see how it is. We already know which version Denver wants.
Ayton and his work on Nikola Jokic
It was one of the most talked about topics of the previous one: how Ayton was going to contain MVP Nikola Jokic. The background of the Regular Phase in the pairings spoke well of his work, but those meetings had been in January and were half in time. However, the Bahamian confirmed his growth in these Playoffs with a great defensive work on the Serbian in the first clash.
Ayton was his main defender in almost the 70% of the time, some 33.7 partial possessions in which he dominated Jokic, leaving him in just 11 points with 5-14 from the field (1-3) triples and just one assist. Yes, it was far from hurting him. What’s more, there were very interesting defensive actions … Disciplined, without falling into feints, supporting the physical load … Very interesting.
Ayton finished the night with 20 points (9-13 field), 10 rebounds and, a key data, just a personal fault. If he can keep this version, the Suns will have a very good outlook ahead.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.