It was a quality Game 1 between Denver and Phoenix with the Suns dominant after half-time, and in Game 2 The Wolf expects Deandre Ayton to continue his outstanding post-season performances.
Here are The Wolf’s Thursday NBA predictions.
It’s been a huge playoffs for Phoenix Centre Deandre Ayton, and although the Nuggets do defend the five-spot relatively well The Wolf expects another great game from Ayton in Game 2.
The Bahamian averages 16.4 points per game this post-season including scoring 20+ in four of the seven games he’s played.
In Game 1, Ayton finished with 20 points purely based on getting to receiver spots with his opponent Nikola Jokic committing to the on-ball defense whenever Chris Paul or Devin Booker played off the Ayton screen.
It appears this isn’t a one-off – during the regular season Ayton averaged 22 points per game against the Nuggets, his second-best average against any team in the competition this season. This extends across his career against Jokic and the Nuggets, averaging 21.8 points per game from the eight games he’s faced Denver since entering the NBA – the only time he failed to cover the 15.5 points line was the first time he played them, which happened to be his second ever NBA game where he scored five points.
Another correlation that suggests Ayton will cover the 15.5 points line is Chris Paul’s assist numbers against the Nuggets – many of which Ayton will be the recipient of. In CP3’s last three games against Denver he averages 13 assists, which includes 11 in Game 1.
In Game 1 Aaron Gordon scored 18 points in just 29 minutes, and it’s a match-up Denver Coach Michael Malone may look to exploit further in Game 2.
Gordon has put together quite a strong post-season so far averaging 13.3 points per game, with his per-36 minutes points average at 16 per game.
Although Crowder was Gordon’s primary defender, Phoenix were happy to switch screens which often saw Devin Booker on him where Aaron Gordon utilized his size listed at 6’8, taking Booker down to the block where he got a lot of his scores. Alternatively, whenever Ayton went to Gordon there was no way he could stay in front of the athletic wing on the perimeter.
Although he’s only scored 15+ twice in the post-season, Gordon has cleared the 12.5 points line in six of his seven post-season games, with his only miss where he played just 18 minutes in Game 4 against Portland.
Denver will need another strong scoring output from Gordon if they’re any chance of taking Game 2 on the road.
Same Game Multi: Deandre Ayton Over 15.5 Points / Aaron Gordon Over 12.5 Points / Chris Paul 8+ Assists = $4.75