It’s going down! I’M EXCITED. The Blazers head to Denver for a game 5 with the Nuggets, the series all squared at two games apiece. When these teams met two seasons ago in the second round, Portland won the series in seven. There is a chance of repeated history, though a number of different outcomes can obviously occur.
When you’re led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, your offense is in good hands. It’s also nice when your first guy off the bench is one of the 10 best scorers in the history of the game. Carmelo Anthony has continued to pay dividends on Portland’s second unit, his first ever year as a reserve going decently well. The team has some defensive deficiencies, but they can sometimes mask them.
A surprise in game 4, was the team benching Enes Kanter and inserting Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as the backup center. Jusuf Nurkic will get 34-37 minutes ordinarily, so it’s small stretches to fill. But, he did a solid job and might get more reps today.
On the other side, we’ve got the Nuggets. Having won games 2 and 3, they cannot be happy with their game 4 effort. They got crushed, flat out. They didn’t look good, and Nikola Jokic was horrible. They have the luxury of home court, a chance to win the series in Denver in the case they struggle in a game 6 in Portland.
Markus Howard and Austin Rivers have played well in their expanded roles, but the team has some work to do.
TrailBlazers vs Nuggets – ODDS:
Spread: The spread for the game is set at DEN -1.5.
Over/Under: The over/under for the contest is set at 226 points.
Moneyline: The Moneyline for DEN is -127, and for Portland, is +107.
Portland Seeking Critical Road Win
Winning a game in Denver is never easy. Not just because they have a great crowd, but because of the altitude factor as well. It favors them more in the regular season generally, but it’s still home court. Portland has had road success in the postseason before and hopes to do so again.
After bowing out of the bubble in the opening round last year, Portland wants 2021 in the arenas to be better. They have underwhelmed so many times over the years, that it isn’t even surprised when they lose so quickly. They do have a good enough team to hang with the Nuggets though, as the first four games taught us.
They need Jusuf Nurkic to continue to wreak havoc in the middle, while the team buries their triples. To get the victory, they will need Damian Lillard to make more than one basket. They won game 4 like that, but won’t again.
Dame and CJ need to be the game’s leading scorers.
Nuggets Seeks 3-2 Lead
One more win and Denver can push the Blazers to the brink. Having made it to the conference finals last year, there is some pressure for them to win the series. Yes, Jamal Murray is in fact hurt. But, there are no excuses. With Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers, they have two guards that are extremely talented.
Michael Porter Jr. still has some fundamentals to work on and little things to also fix, but he’s taken a significant leap forward. He has proven himself as a legitimate number two scoring option. When he’s locked in and scoring as he does, the team is at their best.
Aaron Gordon has proven to be a tremendous asset on the defensive end, though his offensive game is a bit suspect. As long as he can continue to play good D on Lillard, they will remain a tough out. But of course, only one man controls the fate of this team on the hardwood.
If Nikola Jokic can continue to dominate as he did in the first several games, they’ll have a chance. A good one, too. He has to get Nurkic in foul trouble so that Portland is forced to play either of Enes Kanter or Hollis-Jefferson.
Nuggets Wins, Goes Up 3-2
The Nuggets will claim victory and take the series lead. Home court matters!
TRAILBLAZERS VS NUGGETS – FREE PICKS:
SPREAD: DEN -1.5
OVER/UNDER: OVER 226
MONEYLINE: DEN -127
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