The best playoff series to date is taking place in the Western Conference between the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets. These two teams are extremely evenly matched, and all four of their games have gone right down to the wire. The series is tied up at 2-2 as we head to Game 5, and the Nuggets will have homecourt advantage for the remaining three games. Portland has already shown the ability to win a game on the road in this series, and anything could happen in this Game 5.
Portland was able to take a 2-1 series lead in Game 3 with a 140-137 victory that came after four overtimes. Both teams rode their star players throughout that game, and there were some tired players on the floor in Game 4. Denver was able to steal homecourt advantage back from the Trail Blazers with a 116-112 victory in Game 4. Portland wants to win games with its terrific offense, while the Nuggets are one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Nuggets are a -3.5 point favorite over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 5.
Dynamic Duo Putting Up Historic Numbers
The Denver Nuggets don’t have a ton of depth on their roster, but they are led by a pair of superstars. Center Nikola Jokic was an All-Star this season and has recorded triple-doubles in back-to-back games. “The Joker” played 65 minutes in the Game 3 marathon but was somehow able to be the star again in Game 4. Point guard Jamal Murray has notched back-to-back 30-point games for the Nuggets, and his shotmaking is a big key for this offense. Look for these two players to have big games again in this one.
Denver is making just 10 three-pointers per game in the postseason, which is pretty low in today’s NBA. The Nuggets don’t get much scoring from their bench, but Will Barton and Malik Beasley have shown signs of breaking out in this series. Both players are averaging nine points per game in the playoffs and will have to make shots in this one. Denver usually finds just enough offense to stay in games.
Blazers Must Shoot It Well
The Portland Trail Blazers are led by a pair of superstars as well in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Lillard is averaging over 30 points per game so far in the playoffs but shot the ball poorly in the Game 4 loss. McCollum poured in 29 points in the loss and is averaging more than 25 points per game in the postseason. These two players are both terrific three-point shooters and will need to find their shooting stroke to steal a game on the road.
When center Jusuf Nurkic went down with a season-ending injury in March, many people thought that the Blazers were done. Veteran Enes Kanter has stepped up big time so far in the postseason, but he has struggled to defend Jokic. Kanter is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs, but he has to find a way to get more stops on the defensive end of the floor. Portland isn’t a great defensive team to begin with, and they are getting torched by the big guns for the Nuggets.
Portland Stuns Nuggets in Denver
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have shown incredible stamina so far in this series, but they are going to wear down at some point. Those two players just have to do too much for their Nuggets team, and they can’t keep it up. Portland has the ability to win any game with their shotmaking, and they are going to get it done in this one. Take the Portland Trail Blazers +3.5 over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday night.