Blazers Seek To Clamp Down On Surging Nuggets
Portland shot 19-for-40 from beyond the arc in pulling away in Game 1 as guys like Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simons stepped up in support of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who combined for 55 points. In Game 2, the Blazers guards came up with 63 combined points but Denver led nearly wire-to-wire, never looking back after taking the lead less than two minutes in.
No Blazers backup made more than a single basket. Simons took one shot. It was a strange no-show but one that shouldn’t linger since Portland gets to come back home and should find the range against a Nuggets defense that is currently compromised since the two biggest wings, Will Barton and P.J. Dozier, remain sidelined by injuries.
Norman Powell and Anthony each finished -24 for Game 2, so getting them to rise up at home will be key and may be worth a look in the player prop market. Powell’s number is 16.5 points at FanDuel and he has only scored that many points once in the last five games.
Full Sportsbook Odds For Blazers Vs. Nuggets
MVP favorite Nikola Jokic has dominated in averaging 36 points through the first two contests, asserting himself more as a scorer than a passer. Michael Porter Jr. is now the clear No. 2 scoring option with Jamal Murray out for the season, but he’s also too big and quick for everyone the Blazers can throw out on him. Robert Covington is a respected defender, but he’s giving up a few inches and isn’t as strong as Porter, Jr. Expect that matchup to play a large role in what transpires going forward in the series.
Porter Jr. is averaging 21.5 points while Aaron Gordon helped contain Lillard by switching on to him in the second half after Lillard tied an NBA record with eight first-half 3-pointers, pouring in 32 points. Denver won every quarter and I think you’ll the Blazers look to share the wealth more in this Game 3 as they attempt to play faster in order to help more players find a rhythm.
The Nuggets and Blazers each finished second in the league with a 22-14 road record, but Portland’s home mark was an ugly 20-16. One contributing factor was that fans weren’t allowed at Moda Center until late in the season. The Blazers did win their final four home contests and will see roughly 6,000 more fans allowed into the building thanks to restrictions being lifted and capacity increased to 8,000.
After being an underdog in the opening games, Portland opened as a 3.5-point favorite, which was bet up to four points at BetRivers, FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, Westgate, and BetMGM. The total opened at 229 but has come down to the 227-228 range. Both games in Denver went ‘over,’ as did the final regular-season meeting on May 16. The first two matchups both went to the low side. Denver has seen the ‘over’ prevail in six of its last eight games.