Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets (Game 2) : Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Pepsi Center in Denver, CO, USA

When: Wednesday, May 1st at 9pm EST

How (TV): TNT

Portland Trail Blazers (Away)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time: 440-417 | ATL, MIL, POR}

Season Record: 53-29, 3rd in West

Projected Starting Five: (G) Damian Lillard – (G) CJ McCollum – (F) Al-Farouq Aminu – (F) Maurice Harkless – (C) Enes Kanter

Top Performers (2019 Playoff Stats)

  • G Damian Lillard – 40.2 MPG | 34.0 PPG | 6.0 APG | 2.2 SPG
  • G CJ McCollum – 36.8 MPG | 23.0 PPG | 5.2 RPG | .422 3P%
  • C Enes Kanter – 30.0 MPG | 15.3 PPG | 9.7 RPG | .623 FG%

The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in an early hole on the road, after losing Game 1 121-113 on Monday night. Damian Lillard put up a big game in the loss, scoring 39 points, although he also committed six turnovers.

Enes Kanter followed Lillard’s scoring effort with 26 points, while Rodney Hood came off the bench to score 17 points.

Portland fell to Denver despite shooting 51.9% from the field and outrebounding the Nuggets 40-34. However, turnovers doomed Terry Stotts’ team as they committed 18 of them compared to Denver’s 12.

Denver Nuggets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Malone {All-Time: 212-222 | SAC, DEN}

Season Record: 54-28, 2nd in West

Projected Starting Five: (G) Gary Harris – (G) Jamal Murray – (F) Torrey Craig – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

Top Performers (2019 Playoff Stats)

  • C Nikola Jokic – 37.9 MPG | 24.9 PPG | 11.8 RPG | 8.8 APG
  • G Jamal Murray – 33.0 MPG | 19.5 PPG | 4.6 APG | .366 3P%
  • G Gary Harris – 34.4 MPG | 14.3 PPG | .457 3P% | .800 FT%

The Denver Nuggets started the second round with a bang by taking down their Northwest division rivals in Game 1. The Nuggets were led in scoring by All-Star big man, Nikola Jokic who put up 37 points along with nine rebounds, while also hitting all 12 of his free throw attempts.

Jamal Murray contributed 23 points and eight assists, while the team’s old veteran, Paul MIllsap added 19 points.

The Nuggets were able to close out the game by setting each other up with quality looks, as more than 60% of their made field goals in the second half were assisted.

What’s At Stake?

The Trail Blazers have now lost three straight second round Game 1’s, with the last win coming in coming in 2000 against the Utah Jazz. Portland will also look to avoid falling behind 2-0 in the second round for the third straight series.

The Nuggets have now taken the all-time series lead in playoff wins against the Blazers at 6-5. Denver currently trails Portland in the all-time series which includes regular season play, 103-88.

Damian Lillard is Made for the Playoffs

The first moments that come to mind when Damian Lillard in the postseason is mentioned are his buzzer beaters against Houston in 2014 and Oklahoma City in the previous round. The 2013 Rookie of the Year has proven to bring it in April and beyond, as he has failed to score 30 points in a playoff series just once, which happened in 2018 during Portland’s embarrassing sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Lillard has been able to hit from all over thus far, as he is finishing at the rim at a respectable percentage for a guard, while of course scorching teams from beyond the arc at a 45.5% clip.

Paul Millsap Loves to Play Portland

Dating back to his days with the Utah Jazz, Paul Millsap has played well against the Blazers. The four-time All-Star has averaged 14.9 points per game on 52% shooting from the field and 36.6 shooting from beyond the arc in 38 career regular season meetings with Portland.

This success was evident this past season, as the former Atlanta Hawk had two 20+ point performances against Portland, one of which was a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Even though his usage is way down from years past, Millsap has shown that he can step up when needed.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

C Jusuf Nurkic – 25 Mar 2019 – Out For Season (Leg Fracture) – Nurkic will not return in the playoffs and could possibly miss all of next season with a compound fracture in his left leg.

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

F Michael Porter – 21 Mar 2019 – Out (Back) – Porter Jr. has been participating in light contact 3-on-3 drills in practice, but is still a long shot to return this year according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic.

X-Factors: Maurice Harkless (POR) vs Torrey Craig (DEN)

WIth each of these teams possessing multiple scoring threats, someone has to be able to neutralize them on the defensive end. Two solid defenders in Portland’s Maurice Harkless and Denver’s Torrey Craig will be in the spotlight for this game as they will look to disrupt their opponents’ offensive game plan.

Maurice Harkless

Small Forward | 6-9, 220lb (206cm, 99kg) | St. John’s | Exp. 6 Years

7.7 PPG | 1.2 APG | 4.5 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.9 BPG | 0.8 TOV | .487 FG% | .275 3P%

A rangy swingman with a seven-foot wingspan and athleticism to boot, Maurice Harkless has established himself as one of the more underrated defenders in the NBA. Although his streaky shooting leaves a lot to be desired, he makes up for it with his ability to guard multiple positions. His performance against Paul George in round one is a testament to his ability to bother even the most prolific scorers in the league.

Torrey Craig

Small Forward | 6-7, 215lb (201cm, 97kg) | USC Upstate | Exp. 1 Year

5.7 PPG | 1.0 APG | 3.5 RPG | 0.5 SPG | 0.6 BPG | 0.6 TOV | .442 FG% | .324 3P%

Despite starting his NBA career at the age of 27 last season, Torrey Craig has been a valuable piece to Denver’s roster. A classic jack-of-all-trades, Craig’s main calling is on defense, although he is capable of hitting shots from deep on occasion. Although he is not the athlete that Harkless is, he is still able to play bigger than 6-7, which allowed him to play solid defense on the likes of DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay last round.

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Predictions and Odds

Home court advantage played a noticeable role in Denver’s Game 1 win, which should remain a factor in Game 2. With that said, look for Portland to play with more desperation in order to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole before they head back to the Pacific Northwest for the next two games.

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SportsbookPortland Trail BlazersDenver NuggetsLink
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