Nikola Jokic

What beat Blazers?: Defense? Rebounds? Bench? 3-point shooting? Or just effort?

What beat Blazers?: Defense? Rebounds? Bench? 3-point shooting? Or just effort?

If you knew ahead of time that Hassan Whiteside was going to outscore All-NBA center Nikola Jokic 35-20 and Carmelo Anthony would outscore Blazer killer Paul Millsap 20-6, wouldn’t you figure that the Trail Blazers would have a shot at defeating the Denver Nuggets, who were on a three-game losing streak?

Well, no. But I think you would have thought they wouldn’t lose by 15.

But that’s what happened in Denver Thursday night, when Portland was drubbed 114-99.

And like so many NBA games, it all turned on three-point shooting. The Trail Blazers shot a solid 47.7 percent from the field but just 30 percent from three (9-30) while Denver connected on 50 percent of its threes (18-36). In other words, the Blazers were outscored by 27 points from distance

That’s especially lethal when you’re getting pounded 15-7 on the offensive boards.

It was a game the Trail Blazers were in on all the way to the end of the third quarter, when they went into zombie mode. With 2:47 left in the period they trailed just 79-78. But the Nuggets rattled off the final 10 points of the quarter and never looked back.

Part of that can be blamed on the Portland bench, which played a total of 62 minutes and scored just nine points – all of them by one man, Anfernee Simons.

But the starters could be blamed, too. The Trail Blazers got a solid 62 points from their starting frontcourt of Anthony, Whiteside and Kent Bazemore but a combined 28 from their starting guards, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who were averaging 48.8 per game coming into this one.

“I know Whiteside hurt us,” Denver Coach Mike Malone said. “But when you can hold that backcourt, Portland’s starting backcourt, to 28 points (and) only three free-throw attempts… I thought our defense on Dame and CJ was terrific.”

And while holding down Portland’s guards, the Nuggets were piling up the threes at the other end.

“A lot like Game 1 (of the season) they made 18 threes and they made 18 threes tonight,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “To me, that was the difference in the game. Some of it was on us as far as leaving shooters and not contesting as much and some of it was on them for moving the ball and finding the open man.”

Lillard said, “We just didn’t have enough pressure on the ball. We let them get too comfortable out there. They’re a passing team. If we had had more energy and effort, like I said after the last game, we could have limited what they do. But we were back on our heels.”

This Trail Blazer season is going south fast. Energy and effort have been an issue recently and you have to worry about it becoming a chronic problem.

The Halloween candy was still in the wrapper the last time Portland beat a team with a record above .500. The Trail Blazers are now 1-9 vs. teams with a plus-.500 record – and that win was on Oct. 27.

 


Listen to this week’s Talkin’ Blazers podcast here:

 

     

 

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: All five guys can't fall asleep against Nikola Jokic

Trail Blazers Pregame Notebook: All five guys can't fall asleep against Nikola Jokic

DENVER – The Trail Blazers said they are looking to keep the momentum going after Monday’s win over the Knicks.

Now as the Blazers get set to face the Nuggets on national television tonight, both Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Blazers All-Star point guard discussed how they need to defend Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic.

I think you try to make him a scorer. It’s kind of like – not comparing him to LeBron [James]- but with LeBron you want him to be a scorer you don’t want him to be picking you apart, then scoring, and doing everything that he wants to do. Jokic, he’s a point-center, like he’s facilitating everything and making them go, making all the plays.  -- Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said at Thursday's shootaround

This season, Jokic is averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.

Coach Stotts added, “You try and pressure [Jokic] as much as you can. Part of it is the other four people have to not fall asleep… Don’t give up backcuts, if you fall asleep he’ll find them. So, it’s kind of a team thing.”

In the first meeting between these two, in which Denver won, Jokic got into early foul trouble. Lillard mentioned at Thursday morning’s shootaround that because the Nuggets 7-footer sat for most of the first half, he was ready to go in the final period. Lillard even smiled saying, “I almost think on opening night when they beat us, it would’ve been better for us to not have him in foul trouble because he basically rested the whole game. He came in the fourth quarter fresh.”

Coach Stotts on the other hand said he “wouldn’t subscribe” to not getting Jokic in foul trouble early.

HEAR FROM COACH STOTTS HERE:

Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets is the NBA's friendliest rivalry

screen_shot_2019-10-23_at_11.14.01_pm.png
USATI

Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets is the NBA's friendliest rivalry

The Trail Blazers-Nuggets matchup has all the makings of a budding rivalry.

These are divisional opponents coming off a long playoff series with shared championship aspirations that play closely contested games in nearly every meeting. 

Yet when the buzzer sounded after Wednesday night’s season opener at the Moda Center, and Denver had handed Portland its first loss, there wasn’t even the slightest sign of animosity. Injured Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic and Nuggets star Nikola Jokic shared a laugh, while Damian Lillard and Will Barton hugged and Pau Gasol and Juancho Hernangomez hung around to chat.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a rivalry,” Lillard said. “We played them one time in the playoffs and that was it.”

Lillard's right. This is barely a rivalry even if the ingredients are right there. But these two teams have seen each other way more than just one tightly contested seven-game playoff series last spring.

Since the start of of the 2018-19 regular season, the Nuggets and Blazers have met 14 times: four regular season games, an epic playoff series, a couple preseason contests and finally Wednesday night. It’s become a running joke in the Blazers film sessions that the team has to sit through more clips of the Nuggets.

“The coaches talk about it all the time,” Blazers third-year big man Zach Collins said. “It’s like, 'Sorry guys I know we’re all tired of watching Denver stuff, but it’s going to happen three more times this year.' It’s part of the NBA though.”

There have been moments when it looked like Portland and Denver might develop the type of bad blood that truly helps rivalries take root. Jusuf Nurkic wished the Nuggets a ‘happy summer’ in 2017 after a career-night against his former team that effectively ended Denver’s postseason hopes. That soundbite never grew into anything more and eventually passed quietly.

Then in Portland’s Game 6 win over Denver last spring, Seth Curry got into skirmish with Will Barton and then referred to the Nuggets as “sassy” in a postgame interview. A few nights later, CJ McCollum ended the Nuggets season with Game 7 masterpiece in Denver.

These are clear moments -- both within the lines and in the press -- where this matchup could have taken the next step, only nothing resembling beef every materialized.

Nurkic and Jokic are friends, and Seth Curry along with five other Blazers from last season’s roster have since departed, which no doubt takes some bite out of these Northwest Division showdowns. It’s more neighborly familiarity than territorial feuding.

As CJ McCollum said on Wednesday, there are very few secrets or new wrinkles when these two teams face each other. They both know each others sets, and tendencies. That type of familiarity lend itself to extracurricular or minor altercations. But truly there isn’t much tension in these games. The quality of play is pretty high, and then everybody goes home. It's just two teams in similar spots, with similar goals.

In the three remaining regular season meetings, it will likely be more of the same. Games that are close in crunch time and a bunch of smiles and hugs that follow the final horn. If nothing else there will be more good games, even if there’s no bad blood. 

“It’s a mutual respect level,” Rodney Hood said. “The respect level brings out the best in the rivalry when teams go back and forth and beat each other. I think this will be one that will go on for a few years.”

Hassan Whiteside showed why the Trail Blazers are excited about him

Hassan Whiteside showed why the Trail Blazers are excited about him

There was finally a game that mattered for the Trail Blazers as Portland hosted the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. It was a night that snapped the Blazers’ winning streak of home-openers with Portland struggling from three and then giving up too many threes on the other end.

But, it was also a night where the new Trail Blazer center shined bright. 

In the preseason, Portland ran such a vanilla offense it was hard to get a feel for how Hassan Whiteside would be involved at the end of the floor. Not to mention he was dealing with a sprained left ankle that he injured on two different occasions in the exhibition season.

Against the Nuggets Wednesday, the pick and roll between Whiteside and Damian Lillard looked pretty solid, especially early.  

Lillard says he already feels comfortable with the big fella.

“I loved what he did tonight. I think that’s what we all had in mind when he came here -- it’s like, that’s the type of presence he was going to have,” Lillard said.

Whiteside poured in 16 points and pulled down a whopping 19 rebounds with five of those came on the offensive glass.

This is the fourth consecutive season that Whiteside has recorded a double-double in the season opener.

But it was his defense, not surprisingly, which got his teammates really talking postgame.

“I thought he was a beast. He did what he does… Tonight he did a good job controlling the paint, protecting the rim, getting rebounds, he was a rebounding machine tonight. You can just see his intensity was there,” Zach Collins said.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic picked up three quick fouls in the first four minutes of action. Whiteside played a big part in throwing Jokic off his game early, being such a pest down low while defending the Nuggets All-Star center.

Jokic was held scoreless in the first half after playing just the first four minutes.

Lillard was impressed with the big man’s defense.

“Being able to guard Jokic one-on-one, I’ve never seen anybody guard him by themselves that well so consistently,” Lillard said. “How well he rebounded the ball. How he finished. He’s a big dude – long arms. It was just like what he was doing was really impressive. I told him during the game and after the game that that’s the type of impact we’re going to need from him every night.”

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was also pleased with his big man.  

“I thought it was a great opening for him. You look at the line he had. He had an impact on the game at both ends. For a guy who didn’t get a lot of run in preseason, I thought it was a pretty good performance by him."

Whiteside said his ankle did not really play a factor, but he did admit he still needs to get into ‘game shape.’ He was limited to 26 minutes of action, five less than any other starter.

But the 7-footer said more time on the treadmill and a couple more games under his belt and he’ll be completely ready to go.    

“I missed the whole training camp, so it kind of set me back a little bit, but as things ramp up, I’ll ramp up,"  Whiteside said.

Jokic ended up scoring 20 points after hitting some timely three-pointer to help the Nuggets get over the hump.

Whiteside explained how Jokic’s game changed from the first half to the second half: 

“I was just basically guarding him one-on-one. I think he stopped posting me up at the end… They set a lot screens for him, it’s not like I can just stay attached to him. He does a great job of just popping out and flaring.”

The Trail Blazers center not only put together a good showing on the court, but he also gave the media a good line postgame:

“I love playing against the bigs that you guys give high praise to. It really gives me extra motivation,” Whiteside said with a straight face.   

Can you be outscored by 33 from long range and still win? Trail Blazers couldn't

Can you be outscored by 33 from long range and still win? Trail Blazers couldn't

The Trail Blazers found themselves in a three-point shootout on opening night at Moda Center Wednesday.

And it was a serious mismatch.

The Denver Nuggets put an end to Portland’s 18-game home-opener win streak by outscoring the Blazers by 33 points from the three-point line, pulling away over the last five minutes for a 108-100 victory.

The Blazers had a one-point lead with 4:59 to go and trailed by only one with 3:51 left before Nikola Jokic popped open for two wide-open threes to hike the lead to seven, digging a hole for the home team it couldn’t climb out of.

Jokic had been held under control all night by Hassan Whiteside, who did an outstanding job of defending him on the inside but didn’t get out to him on those three-point shots. Jokic scored 16 of his 20 points in the final quarter. He played only 3:45 of the first half because of foul trouble but Portland didn’t capitalize much in his absence.

But the game was decided – like so many these days in the NBA – at the three-point line. Portland managed to hit just 7-28 from distance while the Nuggets were 18-32. It’s almost impossible to win a game with that sort of long-range disparity and halfway amazing the Blazers stayed as close as they did, considering they also had 20 turnovers.

The Blazers got little offensive help from their bench. The reserves were 6-22 from the field, including 0-7 from long range.

“Well, obviously, it’s disappointing to lose a home opener,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “The other obvious thing is the three-point shot is the great equalizer.”

It didn’t equalize anything Wednesday night, it decided it.

“They shot it really well,” Stotts said. “… the way the game is going, we’ve got to be able to defend the three better. That was a concern in the preseason and it was tonight.”

It would seem that the Blazers should be able to do a better job of perimeter defense with Hassan Whiteside patrolling the middle. In his first game as a Blazer, Whiteside had 19 rebounds, two blocks and 16 points in 26:03. But Denver got too many open looks.

But before Trail Blazer fans start fretting over the 82-game season, there were still several positives to take away from the game:

  • The play of Whiteside, who also made six of his seven shots.
  • Kent Bazemore’s five steals, including three on consecutive Denver possessions in the second quarter.
  • Skal Labissiere made three of his four shots and scored eight points to go with six rebounds.
  • The Blazers outscored the Nuggets 23-7 on second-chance points.
  • The law of averages. McCollum went 5-18. Bazemore was 1-7, Mario Hezonja was 0-3 and Anfernee Simons was 2-7. Those players will shoot better than that most of the time. And it wouldn’t have taken too much better to pull out a win.

 

Instant Analysis: The Blazers home-opener streak comes to an end

Instant Analysis: The Blazers home-opener streak comes to an end

The feeling of excitement was oozing out of the Moda Center on Wednesday night until the final seconds of the game.

It was opening night for the Trail Blazers, it was the tip-off of the 50th Anniversary as an organization, and it was a game against their NW Division rival, the Denver Nuggets.

Damian Lillard took flight with a first-quarter dunk that had the Moda Center crowd on its feet.

Besides that first-quarter dunk it was a slow start for Lillard. CJ McCollum also had a rough night shooting. It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Trail Blazers really got it going, but it wasn't enough. The Blazers had too many turnovers and allowed the Nuggets to get easy threes, especially late in the game. The Blazers' winning streak of home-openers comes to an end at 18.    

FINAL BOX SCORE: Nuggets 108 -  Trail Blazers 100

Here are three quick takeaways from the Blazers loss to the Nuggets:  

1. Whiteside came to play for real

Unlike in the preseason with the Blazers running such a vanilla offense, everyone now got a chance to see how Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and the Blazers plan to play Hassan Whiteside on the offensive end. Whiteside and Damian Lillard had a good connection going early and late. Whiteside was also able to get some nice put-backs.   

Plus, Whiteside showed off how effortless it is for him to gobble up rebounds as well as alter shots at the rim.  

The Blazers center seemed to have no ill affects from his sprained left ankle. It did look like he might still be trying to get in game shape. He was held to 26 minutes with Skal Labissiere playing big minutes at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter.

2. The Twin Towers will be a problem for teams this season

Nikola Jokic picked up three quick fouls in the first four minutes of action. Those fouls really threw Jokic off his game. He became a non-factor on Wednesday, besides his late three-pointers. You can’t leave Jokic open on the three-point line!

Whiteside was a pest down low while defending Jokic. The combination of Whiteside and Zach Collins putting pressure on Jokic and Paul Millsap was a key in the Blazers keeping this one close. Collins did a solid job defending the quick, agile, and three-point threat of Millsap.

Jamal Murray had a heck of a time getting to the basket going up against Collins and Whiteside.

The referees were not afraid to call offensive fouls all night. Both teams got docked with fouls on their side of the ball, whether it was a moving screen or a charge call.

3.  Mr. Get Those Steals

Heading into halftime, it was all about the Blazers’ defense. Kent Bazemore had three steals in three straight possessions. "The Godfather" Dwight Jaynes said he didn’t think he had ever seen that before.

The Blazers also forced the Nuggets into a shot clock violation.

Bazemore’s quick hands and quick feet were a big contribution in helping the Blazers with their perimeter defense, which the Blazers have admitted they need to tighten on up.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers hit the road for a four-game road trip starting off in Sacramento. The Blazers and Kings will tip-off at 7:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App on Friday.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Damian Lillard on Game 7: "I’m going in there to get the job done"

Damian Lillard on Game 7: "I’m going in there to get the job done"

If there’s one thing avid Trail Blazer watchers expect on Sunday it’s Damian Lillard to have a big game. He loves the big stage and has a way of performing on a level to match the spotlight. And he’s a true leader, the captain whose teammates will willingly follow him into whatever situations this team is likely to face.

Here are his thoughts about Sunday’s Game 7, the first Game 7 of his career:

“I mean, I think it’s always people saying people have never been in a Game 7, but it’s basically a game where only one team is going to make it out. It’s your last opportunity to play, so facing elimination is what it is to me. That’s going to be my approach. We were facing elimination (Thursday). The only thing that’s going to change is that it’s going to be on the road.

“It’s for our season. for all the marbles. For me, I’m not going in there saying I’ve never been in a Game 7. I’m going in there saying I know what this team is capable of.

“I know what I am and I know who I am as a player and I’m going in there to get the job done. I’m not concerned with it being a Game 7 or whatever. It’s not Game 7 of the Finals, so it is what it is,

“The No. 2 thing is to get rest, stay off our feet, rest our bodies, make sure we do that part. And the No, 1 thing is to have our minds right. Don’t overthink. Don’t make it some big crazy deal or anything like that. We’re going to play a basketball game. It’s a big game and we’ve won on their floor before and we know what kind of mentality we had when we did that.

“We’ve got to go out there, be tough, be physical, be sharp in our scouting report, play for each other, play with each other on both ends and just put the pressure on them. Make them earn everything on the offensive end and then when we get the ball, make sure we get shots up. Value each possession. Don’t go out there turning the ball over, playing into their hands where they get the opportunity to get their crowd involved.

“So that has to be our mentality – to just be sharp, be physical, go in there ready to take the game because the only way it’s going to happen is us going in there and taking it.”

And it's possible that the physical stress of a long, second-round series will have an impact on who "takes it."

Famously, Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

I’m not sure about cowards, but it makes us tired enough to affect our performance, whatever our occupations. For NBA basketball players, it’s could be a matter of winning or losing a game. A series. Or a season.

And fatigue might be a real factor Sunday when the Trail Blazers face off against the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of a series where key players have been playing a huge number of minutes (H/T Truehoop.com).

Very much because of that four-overtime Game 3 in Portland, this series features the top six players in the minutes-played category of the playoffs. And four of those are Nuggets – 1. Nikola Jokic (515). 2. Gary Harris (478). 3. Jamal Murray (471). 5. Paul Millsap 471. The two Trail Blazers are: 4. Lillard (442) and CJ McCollum (431).

The adrenaline of a Game 7 to decide a trip to the Western Conference finals will carry these players for a while, no question. But there is serious doubt it can carry them through another complete game.

And whoever gets tired first is going to be at a big disadvantage. It’s definitely something to keep in mind as the game unfolds.

Entering Game 7, Jusuf Nurkic has become the Trail Blazers biggest fan

Entering Game 7, Jusuf Nurkic has become the Trail Blazers biggest fan

The Trail Blazers staved off elimination Thursday night at the Moda Center. But when they board the team plane to head to Denver on Saturday afternoon ahead of Game 7, the guy who wants to be there the most likely won’t be on the flight.

“It’s ridiculous,” Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic said almost scoffing at the challenge of watching his team play the biggest games of the season while he is forced to watch from the sidelines. “But I gotta take it. For me, it’s harder when you’re out there (on the bench) and not out there (in the game). When you’re watching and you actually just can only watch as a fan, it makes even harder.”

Six weeks ago, Nurkic suffered a gruesome leg injury, sustaining compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula. That he’s even at the games walking around without support is a surprise. Yet he’s become a bench staple at second half of home games, emerging from the Moda Center tunnel with a suit and a custom t-shirt to be welcomed by an eruption from the Blazers faithful when he is shown on the arena screens.

He smiles. Waves. Pumps up the crowd. And basks in the cheers for a moment. But there’s agony under the surface. There is nothing Nurkic would like to do more than help his team on the floor during these playoffs.

“I wish I could play,” he says more than with a hint of resignation.

Nurkic was telling anyone that would listen that he wanted to be in uniform Thursday night. He told assistant coaches, he told the team’s security guard, he told Terry Stotts, and he told Damian Lillard.

“Today was actually the first time that he said to me when I was sitting next to him on the bench, he said, ‘Man I wish I could play with my broken leg. I would go out there right now and get hurt again if I could,” Lillard said. “And I was like, ‘This dude is crazy.’”


On the bench, Nurkic is believably vocal. He’s calling out defensive coverages, encouraging his teammates’ effort and of course seizing the moment to talk trash to his former Nuggets teammates.

“He’s talking,” Seth Curry said. “He always talking. And just … he’s just Nurk.”

Nurkic is brash, bold and, as Lillard has described him, as petty as they come. That’s why when he made his post-injury debut at the Moda Center he came wearing a custom t-shirt that read “Got Bricks? Next question” to directly mock Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. On Thursday, the t-shirt had names of Bosnians killed in conflicts during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. A strange, but not so subtle nod to Denver’s Serbian star Nikola Jokic.

“All I can do is cheer for my teammates and just be who I am,” Nurkic said.

He’s just Nurk. More playful than incendiary, but incendiary nonetheless. He and Jokic have a rivalry on the court, but they’re friendly off it. It’s why Jokic ended his press conference with an unprompted message to Nurkic.

“I know he had a tough injury and, yes he was with us and we’re conference whatever; we’re rivals,” Jokic said. “But for me it’s really nice to see him walking by himself in such a short period.”


Custom shirts aside, Nurkic said he’s happiest when he’s seeing his teammates win the very same games that he would do nearly anything to be a part of. While it’s been hard for him, he has been a welcomed addition to the Blazers bench.

“He’s a part of the team so having him there it feels more complete,” Lillard said. “Sometimes you look down there and when he’s not there, it’s like, ‘Man …’ You can tell somebody’s missing, a player’s missing. He’s also a talkative person. So you feel his presence.”

The Blazers will play will their most important game in nearly two decades on Sunday. Nurkic almost certainly won’t be there. He’ll be at home, filling up Twitter timelines with GIFs, anxious that he can’t be on the court.

“I’m excited for Game 7,” he said. “It’s going to be a really interesting game.”

There was some torment hidden behind that answer. It’s been a challenge being reduced to spectator. But if the Blazers pull off the road win and end up in the Western Conference finals on Sunday night, no one in Rip City will be happier than the self proclaimed Bosnian Beast.

“Can I enjoy them?,” Nurkic asked ruminating on the question for a moment. “If we’re winning I enjoy every game, man.”

Game 6 of Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets: How and Where to Watch

gm6050819_1920x1080.jpg
USA Today Images

Game 6 of Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets: How and Where to Watch

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers on your device.

It was all Nuggets on Tuesday night in Denver as Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap sparked the Nuggets' 124-98 blowout victory over the Trail Blazers. Tuesday’s win gave Denver a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

With a win in Game 6 on Thursday night in Portland, Denver can secure its first trip to the Western Conference Finals since the 2008-09 season. But the Trail Blazers are not going to go down without a fight.

“We’ve been in tough situations before and we’ve figured out a way to make stuff happen,” Maurice Harkless said after Game 5.

Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts has confidence in his team’s ability to bounce back.

“They’ve always responded. I think they’ve shown that over the years, our core guys who have been here. They’re professional, they have a lot of pride, there will be a lot of energy in the building. I expect that it’ll probably be a very good game and I think we’ll play well,” Stotts said.

While, Meyers Leonard added that he feels this team is “going to be just fine.”

“This is six years in a row in the playoffs, unfortunately we’ve haven’t always drawn the best matchups,” Leonard said. “Last year wasn’t a good playoff run for us… The fact that we bounced back, had that good of a season this year, played that well against a very good Oklahoma City team and the fact that we’ve shown it against this team, I truly believe we are going to be just fine.”

As for Denver, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone is hoping his young squad has learned from their Game 6 loss to the Spurs in San Antonio in their First Round matchup.

“We know going into Portland for Game 6, it’s going to be a really tough game. Game 6 in San Antonio we did not come ready to play -- mentally or physically. I hope that we have a much difference mindset going into Portland for Game 6,” Coach Malone said Tuesday night.


GAME DETAILS

Where to Watch: ESPN

Tip-Off Time: 7:30 p.m. 

Point spread: Portland -4

NBCS NW Coverage: Blazers Outsiders Pregame Show (7:00 p.m.), Blazers Outsiders Postgame Show (immediately after the game). 

Radio: 620AM Rip City Radio

 

INJURY UPDATES

For the Trail Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) is out for Tuesday's Game 6 vs. Denver.

For the  Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr. (lower back) is out.
 


QUICK LINKS

Dwight Jaynes: Trail Blazers return home for must-win game after bowling-shoe ugly loss

Jamie Hudson: No time for the doubters (again) -- Trail Blazers are locked in for Game 6

VIDEO: The players weigh in on what went wrong in Game 5

VIDEO: Hypocrisy from refs running rampant in series

VIDEO: It's win or go home time for the Trail Blazers



Download the brand new MyTeams app today - This is the app for everything Blazers: highlights, articles, podcasts and more from your NBC Sports Northwest Blazers team.

Jokic vs. the mic round 2: Jokic gets his revenge (sort of)

Jokic vs. the mic round 2: Jokic gets his revenge (sort of)

There is only one thing that is slowing down Nikola Jokic in these NBA playoffs…. one pesky microphone. 

The Denver Nuggets center is having his way with the Portland Trail Blazers averaging 24.5 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game in this Western Conference Semifinals.

And without Portland big man Just Nurkic (season-ending injury) out and a not 100% healthy Enes Kanter, Jokic is a problem. 

But there is one microphone that has shaken the All-Star up a bit...

Here is what happened following game four in Portland:

Tonight was a different story. Before Jokic stepped into the post game press conference room, he typically is the last to come to the podium, someone had removed the mic off of the stand because Jokic prefers to hold the mic in his hand while speaking to the media as opposed to just leaving it in the mic stand. 

This time around, Denver PR staff was prepared.

“Thank you whoever did this,” said Jokic with a smile on his face. 

The Portland Trail Blazers return home for game six on Thursday in this Western Conference Semifinal in a must-win situation against the Nuggets.