With the First Round series tied at 1-1, the No. 6 seeded Trail Blazers are eager to return to Portland and play in front of their limited crowd of 8,000 fans as they face the No. 3 seed Denver Nuggets Thursday night.
If Game 2 is any indication, the Blazers fans will be treated to an intense and physical game.
“I look forward to playing at home in front of some fans,” Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum said following Monday’s loss. “I think our fans come out and show great support for us. Hopefully, we can continue to fill up the arena and get closer and closer to full capacity, and hopefully, we can continue to match that energy. But I'm looking forward to returning home for Game 3.”
Denver beat Portland in Game 2, with their physical play and behind MVP candidate Nikola Jokic’s 38 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The Nuggets also got some needed help from their second unit. Paul Millsap added 15 points and seven boards in 15 minutes off the bench.
Through the first two games of the series, Blazers six-time All-Star Damian Lillard is averaging 38.0 points on 42.9% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, and 90.0% FT to go along with 3.0 rebounds and 11.5 assists.
The franchise record for scoring average in a playoff series is 33.0 ppg, which Lillard set in 2019 vs. OKC.
The Trail Blazers are -4 point favorites against the Nuggets in Game 3 at Moda Center, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -4 (-110) – Nuggets: +4 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Thursday, May 27
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
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 3.
For the Nuggets, 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 in Game 2:
Game 2 - Denver 128, Portland 109 on May 24th at Ball Arena
Even though Damian Lillard went on an absolute scoring tear in the second quarter of Game 2, it was not enough to propel the Blazers to a win.
Lillard tied a playoff record with six three pointers in the second quarter (Antoine Walker). He also tied an NBA playoff record with eight threes in the first half (tying Vince Carter).
In the loss, he finished with 42 points, four rebounds and 10 assists. CJ McCollum added 21 points. But with the Nuggets being the aggressors from the start, Lillard says the Blazers didn’t play well enough to overcome their intensity. He also added that they need to “be more disciplined” on the defensive end heading into Game 3.