After having six full days to prepare for each other, the No. 6 seeded Portland Trail Blazers will face the No. 3 seed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs in Game 1 Saturday night.
Portland and Denver have squared off against each other three times previously in the postseason.
The Blazers hold a 2-1 series edge.
In their most recent playoff matchup, the Blazers defeated the Nuggets in the 2019 NBA Western Conference Semifinals in seven games.
During the 2019 series, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum averaged 26.4 points in seven games against the Nuggets, marking the 10th-highest scoring average for a playoff series in team history.
McCollum scored 20-plus points in 12-of-16 games during the 2019 playoffs, including four games with 30-plus points. Over his career, McCollum has notched eight nine career games of 30-plus points in the playoffs, which are the third-most in franchise history behind only Damian Lillard with 17 and Clyde Drexler with 14.
The Trail Blazers enter the 2021 Playoffs as the sixth seed in the Western Conference for the 10th time in franchise history. Portland has a cumulative postseason record of 13-28 as the sixth seed.
The most recent three-six series was in 2011 when the Blazers fell to the Dallas Mavericks, 2-4.
The Trail Blazers are +1 point underdogs against the Nuggets in Game 1, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +1 (-110) – Nuggets: -1 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Saturday, May 22
Where: Ball Arena | Denver, CO
Start time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The Blazers will be without Zach Collins (left ankle) for Game 1.
For the Nuggets, Austin Rivers (non COVID related illness) is questionable. Will Barton (right hamstring; strain), PJ Dozier (right adductor; strain) and Jamal Murray (left ACL; surgery) are out.
Projected starting lineup:
For the Blazers –
- Damian Lillard
- CJ McCollum
- Norman Powell
- Robert Covington
- Jusuf Nurkic
For the Nuggets –
- Aaron Gordon
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Austin Rivers
- Nikola Jokic
- Frank Campazzo
What happened during the regular season:
The Nuggets won the season series, 2-1.
Game 1 of the regular season: Denver 111, Portland 106
Game 2 of the regular season: Denver 106, Portland 105
Game 3 of the regular season: Portland 132, Denver 116
In three games against the Nuggets this season, Damian Lillard averaged 23.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists.
Lillard has logged a double-double in four of his last six games against Denver.
CJ McCollum played in two games against Denver this season, posting averages of 19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.50 steals.
For the Nuggets, it was MVP candidate Nikola Jokic leading the way. In three games against the Blazers this season, Jokic averaged 29.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Nuggets big man notched 41 points against Portland in the first game of the season series on Feb. 23.