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Preview: Nuggets hope to notch a win in pivotal Game 3 vs. Suns

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Back in Denver, the Nuggets look to get the W after a drought in Phoenix

NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The old cliche is that a series doesn’t begin until the home team loses. That certainly hasn’t happened yet as the Suns dominated Games 1 and 2 back in Phoenix behind a well-balanced attack led by Chris Paul that the Nuggets just couldn’t solve.

Now, the series turns to Denver where the Nuggets are hoping for some of that Mile High Magic to help get them out of the 0-2 deficit. It may seem daunting after two horrible losses (including Denver’s worst loss of the season by point differential in Game 2), but the reality is that a two-game lead means nothing - just ask the Avalanche. There’s still plenty of basketball to be played, but the Nuggets will need to be better than they have been so far to make it a series. If not, then this season will be ending earlier than anticipated.

The Essentials

Who: Phoenix Suns (2-0) at Denver Nuggets (0-2)

When: 8:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch: ESPN

Rival Blog: Bright Side Of The Sun

Projected Lineups

Position Nuggets Suns
Position Nuggets Suns
PG Facu Campazzo Chris Paul
SG Austin Rivers Devin Booker
SF Aaron Gordon Mikal Bridges
PF Michael Porter Jr. Jae Crowder
C Nikola Jokic DeAndre Ayton
Bench JaMychal Green, Monte Morris, Will Barton, Paul Millsap Cameron Payne, Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, Torrey Craig

Injury Report: Michael Porter Jr. - probable (back), PJ Dozier - out (adductor)

What to Watch

Nikola Jokic’s MVP Trophy Ceremony. If you’re fortunate enough to go to game, please please please soak in this moment. If you’re watching on TV, hope that the Sixers-Hawks game doesn’t run long and that ESPN will be able to show footage of the ceremony. This is a monumental moment for Jokic and the Denver Nuggets franchise that no matter the outcome of the game or series will always be a bright spot on this season. Nikola Jokic, Most Valuable Player. Ahhh.

Which Michael Porter Jr. will show up tonight? After playing a key role in the Portland series, MPJ has been largely invisible on offense and extremely visible on defense (this is not good) against the Suns. Porter, who essentially is Denver’s second option without Jamal Murray, is shooting just 29% from three so far in this series and has been hounded by Chris Paul on the other end. Simply put, Porter has to be better. Without his threes falling so much more pressure is put on Jokic and with Phoenix already packing the paint pretty hard any offense generated from the wing will go a long way.

Who else will step up outside of Nikola Jokic? The Suns have had meaningful contributions from so many guys: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cam Payne, Dario Saric, Torrey Craig. Meanwhile, Denver’s role players haven’t been great. Monte Morris and Austin Rivers absolutely have to play better and score for Denver to have a chance. Paul Millsap and JaMychal Green have been decent so far, and the return of Will Barton was positive in his limited minutes during Game 2. Still, multiple Nuggets will need to have big games for Denver to have a shot. Hopefully the home crowd will energize them to do so.