The Phoenix Suns on Sunday night became the first team to punch their ticket to the conference finals, completing their second-round sweep of the Denver Nuggets. Even though the other Western Conference series isn’t close to being decided, Chris Paul and Co. are not favored to reach the 2021 NBA Finals.

With a 2-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers, the No. 1 seed Utah Jazz led the way with +110 odds to win the West, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Suns, who finished one game behind the Jazz for the No 2 seed, have +145 odds. The Clippers are a distant third with +320 odds to win the West.

Phoenix has been underestimated since the playoffs started. The Suns entered their first-round series against the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers as heavy underdogs. Phoenix looked to be in trouble when the Lakers took a 2-1 series lead, but everything changed when Anthony Davis suffered a groin injury that effectively ended his postseason.

Since Davis got hurt in Game 4 of the first round, Phoenix has put together a seven-game winning streak. The Suns have been utterly dominant, winning by an average of 16.3 points per game.

Deandre Ayton held his own against both Davis and Nikola Jokic, averaging 15.2 points and 10.6 rebounds while shooting 71.6% from the field. Devin Booker outplayed LeBron James in the first round and leads Phoenix with 27.9 points per game this postseason. Paul was spectacular in four games against Denver.

Paul averaged 25.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game in the second round. The 36-year-old was the best player in a series that featured the league MVP. The point guard controlled every contest and came up with clutch baskets that allowed the Suns to pull away from the Nuggets in each four quarter.

Los Angeles hosts Utah in Game 4 Monday night with a chance to tie up the series. The Jazz were on a six-game winning streak until the Clippers won Game 3 at home behind 65 combined points from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

The Suns were a perfect 3-0 against the Jazz in the regular season. Donovan Mitchell missed the final meeting between the top-two seeds. The Clippers beat the Suns twice in three tries.

Phoenix is back in the conference finals for the first time in 11 years. Neither the Jazz nor the Clippers have been in the conference finals during that span.

The Brooklyn Nets are still the overall favorites to win the championship at +270. The Jazz are second with +300 title odds, followed by the Suns and their +410 odds.

Chris Paul
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