Portland (0-1) at Denver (1-0)
When: Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
Where: Pepsi Center,
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Denver -4/217.5
As long as Denver’s Nikola Jokic has his way with opposing defenders, the Nuggets are going to be a hard team to stop this postseason. The Portland Trail Blazers found that out in Monday’s Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series when the Serbian carried Denver to a 121-113 victory at home and will try and duplicate that with Wednesday’s Game 2 from Pepsi Center. Jokic recorded 37 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots and was a perfect 12-for-12 at the foul line. Slowing him down will be a priority for the Blazers once again. “You’re not going to completely take him out, but you have to make things difficult for him,” Portland star Damian Lillard said. “We’ve got to make him see bodies, we’ve got to be physical, we’ve got to be ready to help on the post and get back to our man. We’ve also got to make sure when he’s putting up shots, we’re keeping him off the glass. He’s one of the best at shooting the ball and following his shot and getting a second attempt.” Lillard was the only one scoring for the Blazers on Monday, but the star guard was also responsible for six of the team’s 18 turnovers. Lillard had a game-high 39 points in Game 1 but Denver contained the rest of the Blazers. Both teams will need to concentrate more on defense in Game 2 after both shot better than 50 percent in the opener. The Nuggets are now 4-1 against Portland this season including the regular season.
Center Enes Kanter was questionable after getting hurt in the series finale against Oklahoma City on April 23rd but he looked in top form in scoring 26 points Monday. He made 11-of-14 shots and pulled down seven rebounds in 33 minutes while playing with a separated left shoulder in Game 1. Kanter received an injection prior to the game in an attempt to alleviate the pain and made it clear he won’t sit out any upcoming games no matter the effect on his abilities. “Enes was terrific, very efficient, finished around the basket playing through the shoulder injury,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I couldn’t have asked any more of him.” Portland didn’t get much offense other than Lillard and Kanter, as CJ McCollum had 16 and Rodney Hood added 17 off the bench, but no other player scored more than four points.
Jokic was at his best in the third quarter when he scored 15 points and hit all six free throws, but Denver’s defense will need to do a better job in Game 2. The Nuggets allowed 29 or more points in three of the four quarters and allowed the Blazers to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor. Point guard Jamal Murray was effective Monday, committing just one turnover while recording 23 points and eight assists and he has scored at least 23 in four of the past five games. Shooting guard Gary Harris scored 11 points, failing to reach 20 for the sixth straight time after opening the first round of the playoffs with outings of 20 and 23 points.
Like I said before Game 1, this is going to be a series dominated by the home team. Both are among the best on their home floors and I can see this Game 2 playing out pretty much like the series opener. I will lay the points with Denver here.
Pick: Nuggets -3.5
Trail Blazers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 Wednesday games.
Trail Blazers are 25-10 ATS in their last 35 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Trail Blazers are 14-6-1 ATS in their last 21 games following a ATS loss.
Trail Blazers are 21-9 ATS in their last 30 games playing on 1 days rest.
Trail Blazers are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up loss.
Trail Blazers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Trail Blazers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Conference Semifinals games.
Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
Trail Blazers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Nuggets are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.
Nuggets are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 vs. NBA Northwest.
Nuggets are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games playing on 1 days rest.
Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Nuggets are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win.
Nuggets are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Wednesday games.
Over is 4-0 in Trail Blazers last 4 Conference Semifinals games.
Over is 5-0 in Trail Blazers last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 4-1 in Trail Blazers last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
Over is 7-2 in Trail Blazers last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 21-7-2 in Trail Blazers last 30 games playing on 1 days rest.
Over is 6-2-1 in Trail Blazers last 9 Wednesday games.
Over is 9-3 in Trail Blazers last 12 games following a straight up loss.
Over is 5-2-1 in Trail Blazers last 8 games following a ATS loss.
Over is 7-3 in Trail Blazers last 10 vs. NBA Northwest.
Over is 4-0 in Nuggets last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Over is 5-0 in Nuggets last 5 Conference Semifinals games.
Over is 5-0 in Nuggets last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Over is 7-1 in Nuggets last 8 games playing on 1 days rest.
Over is 6-1 in Nuggets last 7 vs. NBA Northwest.
Over is 5-1 in Nuggets last 6 games following a ATS win.
Under is 13-4 in Nuggets last 17 home games.
Under is 20-7 in Nuggets last 27 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 18-7 in Nuggets last 25 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
Over is 5-2 in Nuggets last 7 overall.
Over is 5-2 in Nuggets last 7 games following a straight up win.
Over is 5-2 in Nuggets last 7 vs. Western Conference.
Under is 9-4 in Nuggets last 13 Wednesday games.
Under is 18-8 in Nuggets last 26 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
Under is 20-9 in Nuggets last 29 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings.
Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings in Denver.
Favorite is 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
Trail Blazers are 1-4-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Denver.
Trail Blazers are 1-6-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings.