Coming into the playoffs, the Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers matchup was expected to be one of the most competitive first round series. So far, that’s proved correct — at least to some extent. While both teams have won two games, Game 3 was the only one that was close.
So far, the Blazers won Game 1 by 14, the Nuggets won Game 2 by 19, and the Blazers won Game 4 by 20. Only Game 3, which the Nuggets won by five, has been within single digits. That’s put a damper on what could have been a pretty fun series. As we move back to Denver for Game 5, hopefully we’ll get a contest that’s still worth watching in the fourth quarter.
Ahead of this pivotal Game 5, here’s everything you need to know:
(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers
- Date: Tuesday, June 1 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Ball Arena — Denver
- TV: NBA TV
- Odds: DEN: -120 | POR +100 | O/U: 226
Nuggets: After losing Game 1 at home, the Nuggets bounced back to take Games 2 and 3, and had a chance to really seize control in Game 4. Another win on the road in Portland would have given them a 3-1 lead and struck a demoralizing blow to the Blazers. Instead, the Nuggets no-showed. They never led, and trailed by as much as 33 at one point. Now, the series shifts back to Denver all knotted up at 2-2. While they still have a good chance of advancing to the next round, the Nuggets might end up regretting basically giving away Game 4.
Trail Blazers: The Blazers have been knocked down a few times this season, but they’ve always found a way to get back on their feet and offer a response. Usually, that was because of Damian Lillard’s brilliance, but the All-Star point guard actually had one of his worst playoff games ever in Game 4, finishing with 10 points on 1 of 10 shooting. Instead, the likes of CJ McCollum, Norman Powell and Jusuf Nurkic stepped up to save the day, and the Blazers tied the series at 2-2. But while they might have been able to get away with a bad Lillard performance once, they’ll need him back at his best for Game 5 on the road.
The Nuggets are 1.5-point favorites for Game 5, so Vegas basically sees this as a pick-em. In these toss up situations, it’s usually safe to ride with the team that’s at home and has the best player. For this game that’s the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic. Plus, they should have some extra motivation after an awful Game 4 performance.