The NBA has two games up on the board for Sunday. One of the matchups will be between the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets and the Trail Blazers have matched up well with each other, which should lead to another great game on Sunday night. This matchup is set to start at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.
Denver put up a strong performance in the regular season, earning the second seed in the Western Conference with a record of 54-28. The Nuggets pulled off a Round 1 series victory in seven games against the San Antonio Spurs. Denver will look to even up this series with a road win on Sunday night.
The Trail Blazers finished out the regular season with a record of 53-29, which put them in third place of the Western Conference. Portland met up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round and were able to pull off a series win in five games. The Trail Blazers will look to push the Nuggets to the brink of elimination with a Game 4 win.
The Nuggets and the Trail Blazers met up four times throughout the regular season. Denver was able to win three of the four games, with Portland taking the final game of the season series. The Trail Blazers have taken a 2-1 lead in the playoff series. The Nuggets will look to repeat the success that they found in the regular season.
Denver hosted the first game of the playoff series on April 29. Damian Lillard dropped 39 points, while Enes Kanter had 26 points. Rodney Hood had 17 points off the bench, but it was not enough. Nikola Jokic had 37 points and 9 rebounds. Jamal Murray had 23 points and 8 assists. Paul Millsap had 19 points to help lead the Nuggets to a 121-113 win in Game 1.
Game 2 of the playoff series stayed in Denver on May 1. Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Denver. Paul Millsap put up 14 points and 11 rebounds. C.J. McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 20 points. Damian Lillard was held to 14 points, but the Trail Blazers were still able to pull off a tough 97-90 win to even up the series.
Game 3 shifted to Portland on May 3 and was arguably the best game of the playoffs. Jamal Murray had 34 points and 9 rebounds. Nikola Jokic had 33 points, 18 rebounds, and 14 assists, while Will Barton had 22 points off the bench. C.J. McCollum had 41 points, while Damian Lillard had 28 points. It took four overtimes, but the Trail Blazers pulled off a 140-137 win in the end.
These two teams have been doing really well in this series and should both be somewhat tired going into Game 4. Both teams will look to build a lead fast and hold it as fatigue begins to step in. These teams played a long game in Game 3, so I believe that the Nuggets depth could give them an edge in this game.
Three Point Shooting
Denver was not the best three-point shooting team during the regular season. The Nuggets were able to make 35.1 percent of their three’s, which was around the league average. Denver held their opponents to a three point percentage of 33.9 percent, which was best in the league. In the playoffs so far, the Nuggets have made 34.9 percent of their three-point shots.
The Trail Blazers were able to make 35.9 percent of their three point shots in the regular season. Portland was able to hold opposing teams to a 35.9 percent shooting percentage from deep as well. In the playoffs, the Trail Blazers have made 37.2 percent of their three-point shots, which has declined while playing the Nuggets.
Denver’s three-point defense has been able to slow down Portland in this round. The Nuggets have been able to find success at the offensive side of the court, but need a bit of a boost to try and tie up the playoff series. The Trail Blazers will look to get Damian Lillard going a bit more to pull off the victory in Game 4.
Nikola Jokic has put up a strong performance throughout the playoffs, averaging 25 points, 12.5 rebounds and 9 assists per game. Jamal Murray has averaged 20.5 points per game from the Point Guard spot. Gary Harris is averaging 14 points, while Paul Millsap has averaged 13.5 points per game. The depth on the Nuggets has been a bit quiet in the playoffs and Denver will look for them to step up in Game 4 to even up the series.
Damian Lillard has been leading the Trail Blazers with 31 points per game in the playoffs. C.J. McCollum has averaged around 25 points per game throughout the playoffs. That number has jumped up with his last two strong performances. Enes Kanter has stepped up his game, averaging around 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
These two teams have seen solid numbers from their starting lineups this season. Denver’s depth was a big reason for their success in the regular season and they need them to step up if they want to keep moving through the playoffs. The Nuggets’ defense was a big part of their success as well and they have done a really good job slowing down Damian Lillard, who has been going off in this season’s playoffs.
These two teams have played some close games and I believe that the Nuggets have a good chance to pull off the Game 4 upset. If Denver’s depth can step up in a big way, I believe that they can outlast a tired Portland team. These two teams match up in a lot of ways, which means that any game could go any way, so the Nuggets will look to push it in their favor with any edge they can earn.
BetOnline has the Trail Blazers listed as a -3 against the spread. Portland is at home, but it took them four overtimes to win Game 3 at home. This makes me believe that the line should be at even. The Nuggets have a lot of value as an underdog in this game, which makes them the better pick in my opinion for Sunday night.