The Denver Nuggets came out with a balanced offensive attack in Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers Monday and evened up the series before heading on the road. Despite Damian Lillard going for 42 points, it wasn’t enough for the Blazers to overcome Nikola Jokic’s 38 points, in addition to 15-plus points from both Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap. With each team taking a game apiece, Game 3 will be incredibly important to pull ahead in the series. Portland’s crowd of 8,000 fans will certainly bring its A-game to the Moda Center, so Denver will need to make sure the production it got from its role players travels on the road.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Game 3.
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(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers
- Date: Thursday, May 27 | Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Moda Center — Portland, Oregon
- TV: NBATV | Live stream: fuboTV
- Odds: DEN +145; POR -165 | O/U: 227.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets
Nuggets: In contrast to Game 1, Denver got significant production from its role players, making Lillard’s scoring outburst a non-issue in the blowout win. Now the Nuggets will need to establish some consistency from their role players to try and take control of this series. Porter continues to impress as he’s been thrust into the No. 2 option for Denver with Jamal Murray out, and Millsap’s 15-point, seven-rebound performance was huge in the Nuggets being able to separate themselves in Game 2. It also helped that after putting Aaron Gordon on Lillard in the second half, he was able to contain him to just 10 points after racking up 32 in the first two quarters.
Trail Blazers: Now that the Nuggets figured out Gordon can probably give Lillard issues on defense, it’ll be important for the rest of Portland’s pieces to pick up the slack. CJ McCollum may need to have take control in Game 3 if Denver goes with the same defensive scheme as it did in the second half of Game 2, and while he’s certainly capable, it likely won’t be enough. That’s where Norman Powell, Carmelo Anthony and Jusuf Nurkic come in. Aside from Powell’s 15 points, the rest of those guys combined for just 12 points. That isn’t going to cut it against the Nuggets or any team in the postseason.
I think the Nuggets found a way to make life difficult on Lillard with Gordon guarding him, and that’s going to be an issue for the Blazers going forward. Despite this game being in Portland, I think Denver pulls out the win with another big performance from Jokic and Porter, and some good contribution once again from Millsap. Pick: Nuggets +4