Round 2 of the NBA playoffs has started and every matchup is at least one game in going into Monday night except the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets. These two teams finished really close in the standings in the regular season and it should help lead to a really good series. Game 1 of the series is set to start at 10:30 PM Eastern time.
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 finished out the regular season red hot, winning twenty of their last twenty-six games. The Trail Blazers met up with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs and were able to move on in five games. Portland will look to earn a Game 1 win on Monday night.
Denver had a strong season putting up a record of 54-28, which helped them earn the second seed in the Western Conference. The Nuggets struggled a bit to end the regular season to lose the top spot in the West. Denver met up with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and moved on after a tough seven-game series. The Nuggets will look to start this series with a win at home.
Both of these teams finished one game apart in the standings in the regular season, which I believe should lead to a strong series between these teams. The Trail Blazers are coming off a little extra rest, which should lead to either a slow start or they are well rested and overpower the Nuggets more and more as the game goes on.
Regular Season Matchups
Portland hosted the first game of the regular season on November 30. C.J. McCollum dropped 33 points, while Al-Farouq Aminu added 20 points for the Trail Blazers. Gary Harris had 27 points and Paul Millsap had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Monte Morris added 16 points for the Nuggets as Denver snuck away with a 113-112 win on the road.
The second game of the season series shifted to Denver on January 13. Damian Lillard dropped 26 points and C.J. McCollum added another 18 points. Nikola Jokic put up an impressive performance with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Jamal Murray had another 24 points to help the Nuggets earn a 116-113 win at home.
The Nuggets also hosted the third game of the season series on April 5. Enes Kanter had a 24 point performance, while Rodney Hood dropped 17 points. Evan Turner and Jake Layman each had 15 points off the bench. Paul Millsap had 25 points and Jamal Murray had 23 points. Nikola Jokic had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists as the Nuggets pulled away with a 119-110 win.
The fourth game of the playoff series shifted back to Portland on April 7. Gary Harris had 18 points, while Trey Lyles had 15 points. Damian Lillard put up 30 points, while Al-Farouq Aminu had 23 points and 11 rebounds. The Trail Blazers were able to earn their first win of the regular season series with a 115-108 win at home.
These two teams played pretty close matchups throughout the regular season. The Nuggets were able to take the season series 3-1, but multiple of the games could have gone either way. The Trail Blazers were missing C.J. McCollum for a couple of those games, which could have definitely helped Portland win another game. These teams should play close matchups again.
Three Point Shooting
The Trail Blazers were a solid three-point shooting team throughout the regular season. Portland was able to make around 35.9 percent of their three points shots in the regular season. In the playoffs so far, the Trail Blazers have made 40.5 percent of their shots from deep. The Trail Blazers allowed their opponents to make 35.9 percent of their three-point shots in the regular season, but held Oklahoma City to a 33.1 percent.
Denver’s three-point shooting was not in the top half of the league in the regular season, making 35.1 percent of their three’s. The Nuggets have made 36 percent of their three-point shots in the regular season. Denver has held their opponents to a 33.9 percent from deep in the regular season, which was top in the league.
These two teams match up well from the three-point line. The Nuggets defense will look to slow down Portland strong three-point shooting. The Trail Blazers three-point defense isn’t great, but they will have to match up with Denver’s three-point offense, which isn’t great either. This should be a pivotal matchup to watch.
Damian Lillard has been tearing it up in these playoffs through the first round. Lillard has averaged 33 points per game in the playoffs. C.J. McCollum is averaging 24.5 points per game. Enes Kanter has emerged as a strong player averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game. Maurice Harkless has averaged 11 points, while Al-Farouq Aminu is averaging 10.5 points per game.
Nikola Jokic is coming off a strong performance against the Spurs. Jokic averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists per game. Jamal Murray was averaging 19 points per game throughout the seven-game series. Gary Harris has averaged 14.5 points per game. Paul Millsap is averaging 12 points per game through the playoffs so far.
These two teams have seen a solid production from their starting lineup as well as their bench. Both teams have a nice depth core, which has helped lead them past the first round. I expect these teams to lineup. The biggest mismatch though is whoever has to go up against Damian Lillard who has been on an absolute tear as of late.
These two teams match up well in this round, especially since both teams finished the regular season one game apart. The Nuggets are coming off a longer series, which could give a slight edge to Portland. The Trail Blazers lost the regular season series 3-1 against Denver. Both teams match up well in the lineups as well with shooting from deep.
BetOnline has Denver listed as a -4 against the spread. The Trail Blazers have the better payout listed as a -105 in comparison to the Nuggets -115. I believe that the Trail Blazers have a good chance to pull off the upset. As an underdog in this game, I believe that there is a lot of value on Portland in this game.