NBA conference semifinal preview capsules

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Preview capsules for the NBA's conference semifinals:


No. 1 DENVER NUGGETS (53-29, 4-1) vs. No. 4 PHOENIX SUNS (45-37, 4-1)

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Season series: Tied, 2-2.

Schedule: Saturday at Denver, Monday at Denver, May 5 at Phoenix, May 7 at Phoenix, May 9 at Denver, May 11 at Phoenix, May 14 at Denver.

Story line: Denver is the No. 1 seed in the West — and, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, doesn't enter this series as the favorite. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and the Suns have that distinction, probably in some part because Phoenix went 2-0 with Durant in the lineup against Denver late in the season. Durant is a matchup nightmare for anyone, and his teams — Oklahoma City, Golden State, Brooklyn and now Phoenix — are 16-4 in his last 20 appearances against the Nuggets. Denver has two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, another matchup nightmare, and now he and the Nuggets will get a chance to prove a lot of doubters wrong.

Injury watch: Both teams are relatively healthy.

Numbers of note: Denver went 14 for 49 from 3-point range in the last two games against Phoenix, both losses. ... It's a rematch of a Christmas game from this season, Denver winning that one 128-125. ... Jokic averaged 31 points, 16.5 rebounds and 12 assists vs. the Suns, while Aaron Gordon averaged 22 points and Jamal Murray averaged 21. ... Devin Booker shot 38% vs. the Nuggets this season.

Prediction: Huge stakes for both teams. Home court wins out in a thriller of a series. Denver in 7.


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The Associated Press