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2023 NBA playoffs second round: No. 1 Nuggets vs. No. 4 Suns preview

Here’s everything you need to know about the Nuggets taking on the Suns in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns on January 11, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns will meet in the second round of the 2023 NBA playoffs with both teams thinking about a championship. The Nuggets are the top seed in the West behind MVP contender Nikola Jokic, while the Suns made the big trade for Kevin Durant at the deadline to prove they are serious about winning a title. Here’s a look at how the teams match up ahead of the series.

No. 1 Nuggets vs. No. 4 Suns

Head-to-head record: Tied 2-2
Overall record: Nuggets 53-29, Suns 45-37
Leading scorer on Nuggets: Nikola Jokic
Leading scorer on Suns: Devin Booker

Odds to win series: Nuggets +110, Suns -130

After struggling to battle through injuries and inconsistent play in past seasons, the Nuggets put it all together this year. Jokic, along with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., led one of the best offenses in the league to lock up homecourt advantage in the West. The Nuggets also have plenty of depth, something which could be a big factor in this series.

The Suns did beat the Nuggets twice since acquiring Durant, but Denver didn’t play any of its key guys in those games. Similarly, the Nuggets beat the Suns twice when Phoenix didn’t have Durant. These are two top contenders to win the West according to DraftKings Sportsbook, and it’s a bit of a shame they’ll be matching up in the conference semifinals instead of the conference finals. The biggest factor in the outcome of this series could be Denver’s depth. If the Suns stars don’t click or get in foul trouble, Phoenix might not be able to contend with Denver’s rotation. If Durant gets hot, the Nuggets don’t have an answer for him defensively.