Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers (Game 3): Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Moda Center in Portland, OR, USA

When: Friday, May 3rd at 10:30pm EST

How (TV): ESPN

Denver Nuggets (Away)

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 – (G) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

Top Performers

Top Performers (2019 Playoff Stats)

  • C Nikola Jokic – 37.8 MPG | 23.9 PPG | 12.0 RPG | 8.6 APG
  • G Jamal Murray – 33.2 MPG | 19.0 PPG | 4.2 APG | .347 3P%
  • G Gary Harris – 35.1 MPG | 14.0 PPG | .400 3P% | .833 FT%

The Denver Nuggets were unable to make use of their home court advantage in Game 2, falling 97-90 to Portland on Tuesday night. Nikola Jokic was Denver’s top scorer in the loss with 16 points as well as 14 rebounds.

Jamal Murray added 15 points on a tough shooting night where he hit 6 of 18 attempts from the field. Veteran forward Paul Millsap put up 14 points and 11 rebounds, which marked his 23rd career playoff double-double.

The Nuggets struggled to get going from beyond the arc, as they made just six of their 29 long range attempts, with sharpshooting guard, Gary Harris missing all five of his three point attempts.

Portland Trail Blazers (Home)

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 – (G) Rodney Hood – (F) Al-Farouq Aminu – (C) Enes Kanter

Top Performers (2019 Playoff Stats)

  • G Damian Lillard – 40.0 MPG | 31.1 PPG | 5.7 APG | 2.1 SPG
  • G CJ McCollum – 37.4 MPG | 22.6 PPG | 5.3 RPG | .423 3P%
  • C Enes Kanter – 30.3 MPG | 15.3 PPG | 9.6 RPG | .606 FG%

The Portland Trail Blazers refused to return home down 2-0 in the series, and they followed through with that goal by taking down the Nuggets in Game 2. CJ McCollum led the way for Portland in the scoring department with a game high 20 points.

Portland’s starting center, Enes Kanter scored 15 points, while their sixth man Rodney Hood matched that point total while also blocking three shots.

Portland won despite Damian Lillard struggling with his shooting stroke, as the All-Star point guard shot 5 for 17 from the field and 1 for 7 from three en route to a measly 14 point effort.

What’s At Stake?

The last time the Denver Nuggets played at the Moda Center, they lost 115-108 on April 7th, which happened to be the second half of a home-and-home meeting between the two teams. To be fair, Jokic and Murray sat out that game while seldom used reserves Juan Hernangomez and Trey Lyles received major minutes.

After winning on the road in round two for the first time since 2000, the Portland Trail Blazers will happily return home where they have managed to win a game in each of their two conference semi-final appearances.

Deja Vu for Gary Harris?

Game 2 was not the first time Gary Harris went 0-fer from three at the Pepsi Center against Portland, as the Michigan State product bricked all five of his long range attempts on April 5th.

On the other hand, Harris has good memories of playing at the Moda Center this season, as he followed up that poor performance with an 18 point outing two days later. In addition, Harris had his second best scoring output of the season against the Blazers on November 30th when he dropped 27 points while committing just one turnover.

Seth Curry Has Been Quiet

Despite shooting a respectable 50% on limited attempts from deep, Seth Curry has yet to really go off in his first year of postseason action. Although he put up 24 double digit scoring performances during the regular season, he had just one such performance during that time against Denver, and none against Portland’s previous playoff opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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.

F Torrey Craig – 1 May 2019 – Day to Day (Nose) – Craig suffered a nasal contusion in Game 2 but managed to return to the game. He is currently being seen by team doctors, with his Game 3 availability yet to be determined.

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.

F Maurice Harkless – 1 May 2019 – Day To Day (Ankle) – Harkless left Game 2 after turning his right ankle and did not return. His status for Game 3 is uncertain.

X-Factors: Will Barton (DEN) vs Rodney Hood (POR)

Given the high intensity of playoff basketball, the injury bug is bound to bite when it matters most. As a result, teams need to revert to the next man up to ensure they do not miss a beat. With starters Torrey Craig and Maurice Harkless possibly missing Game 3, their probable replacements Will Barton and Rodney Hood will need to step up.

Will Barton

Shooting Guard | 6-6, 190lb (198cm, 86kg) | Memphis | Exp. 6 Years

11.5 PPG | 2.9 APG | 4.6 RPG | 0.4 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .402 FG% | .342 3P%

After losing his spot in the starting lineup three games into the playoffs, Will Barton could get a shot to redeem himself. The former Memphis Tiger put up a pair of stinkers in Games 2 and 3 against San Antonio, shooting a combined 3 for 16 from the field for just seven points.

His play off the bench has been a welcome niche to coach Mike Malone’s game plan, as his performances in Games 4 and 5 against the Spurs were key factors in Denver’s wins in those games, where he scored 12 and 17 points respectively. Barton struggled against Portland during the regular season, however, with seven 20+ point outings this season, he is more than capable of giving the Nuggets a jolt of offensive firepower.

Rodney Hood

Shooting Guard | 6-8, 206lb (203cm, 93kg) | Mississippi State/Duke | Exp. 4 Years

11.2 PPG | 1.8 APG | 2.2 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 0.2 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .435 FG% | .356 3P%

After playing half the season in Cleveland as an everyday starter, Rodney Hood has seamlessly transitioned to a key reserve role with Portland where he is often the first guy off the bench. Although he is a streaky shooter, Hood has proven to be a sparkplug off the bench, with his best game of the season coming at Charlotte where he dropped 27 points on the Hornets.

Hood has plenty of playoff experience thanks to his time with Utah as well as last year’s run to the NBA Finals with the Cavaliers. With 11 double-digit scoring efforts in his 40 career playoff games, the Mississippi native is able to withstand the pressure of postseason play and execute when called upon.

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

With these teams pretty evenly matched, the home court could be the deciding factor, as Portland has won 8 of their last 10 home games against the Nuggets.

You can bet on the Nuggets vs Blazers if you are in New Jersey, at one of the following sportsbooks:

SportsbookDenver NuggetsPortland Trail BlazersLink
888Sport NJ+145-175
BetStars NJ+155-188

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