The Portland Trail Blazers smelled blood in Game 1, taking the early series lead against the Denver Nuggets with a resounding win. How will Nikola Jokic and company respond? We’ll know about that this Tuesday.
Catch this game live on Tuesday, May 25, at 10 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Denver Nuggets (0-1, 0-1 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: Austin Rivers
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
There simply is no reason for the Nuggets to panic after losing Game 1 at home, 123-109, but they need to see changes this Tuesday to avoid falling to a deeper hole. Nikola Jokic put on a scoring clinic in Game 1, as he finished with 34 points on 14-of-27 shooting, but he was limited to just a single assist.
That’s emblematic of how the Blazers managed to have success on defense, as they effectively took away Jokic’s passing options. Then again, it can also be just because some of Jokic’s teammates simply didn’t knock their shots down. Michael Porter Jr. had 25 points, which were nice, but he shot blanks from downtown (1-10 3FG).
Denver also needs to be a bit more aggressive at least after taking just eight free-throw attempts to 19 by Portland. Even without Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have shown their offense could click and be unstoppable, so expect a much better performance from them Tuesday.
The Nuggets are 20-8 against the spread in their last 28 games on a Tuesday (Manila time).
ROAD TEAM: Portland Trail Blazers (1-0, 1-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Damian Lillard
- SG: CJ McCollum
- SF: Norman Powell
- PF: Robert Covington
- C: Jusuf Nurkic
Powered by Damian Lillard and a throwback performance by Carmelo Anthony, the Blazers drew first blood in this series. Lillard is expected to produce no matter what, and he did in Game 1, as he scored 34 points.
Anthony, meanwhile, had fun in his old homecourt and scored 18 points off the bench. Anthony has shown up from time to time for the Blazers this season, but if Portland is to take down Denver, they’re going to need guys like Melo and Anfernee Simons to provide consistent scoring support for Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Simons scored 14 points with four triples in Game 1. Stopping Jokic will always be a tall order, but the Blazers may just let him score so long as they take away Denver’s other gunners.
Portland should also look to establish its outside shooting in Game 2 after burying 19 threes last Sunday. The Blazers are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games as the underdog.
Denver will not let itself go down 0-2 in this series. Expect Jokic to take over again, as the Nuggets win and cover (-1.5)
The Nuggets will do a better job at controlling the pace this time around. Take the Under (227).