Monday’s Results: 3-0
All-Time Results: 75-79-1. -1 Unit
Denver Nuggets -4 vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit
Denver Nuggets -2 1H vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 1 Unit
Even though the easier schedule of the playoffs makes playing in the Mile High City not quite as daunting, Denver still boasts a terrific home court advantage. Denver is 4-1 SU & 3-2 ATS at home this postseason. They are 28-18 ATS overall at home this season.
We are getting the same number here as Game 1, despite the fact that the Blazers no longer have a rest advantage over the Nuggets. Although the flip side of the argument could be that the Blazers will not be as rusty – I don’t think the Blazers were rusty at all in Game 1. Dame Lillard has 39 points and the Blazers as a team hit 8 consecutive shots at one point in the first quarter.
I think the Nuggets offense is more sustainable against the Blazers defense than vice a versa. Harris can continue to disrupt CJ McCollum and Lillard’s shots – though indefensible – should eventually regress to the mean. Lillard is a 40% career playoff shooter from the field.
The Nuggets however have clear weaknesses that they can exploit. Enes Kanter is battling through a separated shoulder injury that clearly caused him discomfort in Game 1. Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Kanter, “I couldn’t have asked any more of him.” That is a telling statement considering Kanter only recorded 7 rebounds and did not affect the game at all on the defensive end.
Before the series started I picked the Blazers to win in 7. It just felt like Damian Lillard’s moment had a few more innings to go. And I might be reacting too much to one game, but now its honestly feeling like Denver in 5 or 6. The Nuggets just seem like too tough of a match-up right now for this thin Portland squad.
Nikola Jokic over 22.5 Points – 1 Unit
Jokic is averaging 28.5 points per game in 4 games against the Blazers this season. In three of those games he was battling former teammate Jusif Nurkic.
Now he is getting buckets against much easier competition. Kanter is hobbled and not much of a great defensive player anyway. Zach Collins has looked like a dear in the headlights so far this post season. In Game 1, Collins recorded 4 points and 1 rebound in 19 minutes of action. Lastly, we have Meyers Leonard rounding out the Blazers frontcourt. Meyers Leonard is like Kawhi Leonard if Kawhi Leonard wasn’t anything like Kawhi Leonard. Vocal, loud, passionate – but just not much of a deterrent in the paint.
Moreover, Jokic has showed signs of improving even from his stellar regular season. That is a great sign for the Denver franchise. He might already be the best Nugget ever.
Jokic took 18 shots and scored 37 points in game 1 despite the fact that he only got two offensive rebounds. If he looks for shot with anywhere close to the same frequency, and gets his season average offensive rebounds, this could be another easy winner.